Sometimes drawing is more like fighting. Some birds just fly right off the page, and some stubbornly refuse to be rendered. This Purple Finch has been in my queue for a LONG time now, I'm not even sure when I started her! But here she is, so I suppose I've won the battle!
Purple Finches are a neat bird, one of the so-called "half hardy" species in many areas. Here, they are early spring birds. I think they do winter sometimes in the area, but I see them from early April through mid-May, a large range for a migrant! They usually show up in small mixed groups. Two females with four males, three females with two males...
The males are amazing, a sweet raspberry-red with a sweet song, and are very hard to miss. The female is much more subtle, often mistaken for a House Finch or Pine Siskin. Despite being on the drab side of the color spectrum, female Purple Finches are a photographers dream - they very often perch on exposed branches, looking this way and that, turning about and giving a variety of poses without even leaving their chosen perch. I seem to have a jinx for photographing the males though - they are almost never in focus. Hmmm...
Another sparrow that we usually get in the yard each year, but always in small numbers. Usually only one, but there were two at one time this year! This year I thought they weren't going to come at all, they were so late! Also had one very late bird, stayed from May 8 to May 10. At least I think it was the same bird!
Hmmm... Glitchy! Sorry if this is your second time seeing this post!
White-Crowned Sparrows are "sort of" common around here. We get them in the yard every year, but usually only one or two at a time. In some areas though, they congregate in bigger numbers. They usually arrive here just before the Harris's Sparrows, and stay just a little longer. Possibly because there are just more of them.
The few times I've seen two White-Crowned Sparrows together, there's usually one bird with a bright-colored beak, and one whose beak is more black. But that's based on very few observations. Does make me wonder though!
I caught the above bird just as he was begining to sing. They have an uncomplicated, but quite nice song. Easily distinguishable from the many White-Throated Sparrows that are typically around at the same time!
I have a lot to show you! Have a couple more drawings to be scanned in and posted shortly!
Sorry for the long time between postings. April and May are all about the birds, you see - so check out my nature blog to see what I've been seeing!
This little guy finally flew off the page about two weeks ago. Yellow Warblers are pretty common, but they are so striking! I'm never sure about rendering such colorful birds in black and white drawings, but this guy had such a sweet face, I couldn't resist.
Yellow Warbler - Graphite on Paper Copyright 2011 - Nicole MacPherson
Yay! A new yard bird, and a new life bird! We've had lots of the Common Redpolls in past years, but this spring was the first time hosting the Hoaries! So much variety in these birds! The numbers fluctuated, we only had about a dozen redpolls at any time, but most of the time, the Hoaries seemed to be in the majority! Very cool little birds! Whereas the Commons look tannish or greyish, the Hoaries are so bright white, they shine!
Well, spring has finally arrived! It's hard to not be jealous of those bloggers who live south of me (which is almost everyone) in the spring, as all their yards become alive with birds well before mine!
But we are (almost) out of snow, and our juncos and robins are back! Yay!
That said, I want to talk about a year-round bird, the Hairy Woodpecker. Or one in particular, anyways. I don't have a lot of good photos of Hairies. Most of my photos show them tap-tap-tapping along. Typical behavior, but not so interesting!
I'd spied a male Hairy on one of the trees out back, he was tap-tap-tapping away, hanging upside down. I took photos anyways. Just because. Then a trunk rumbled by, and started him. Dang! But instead of flying off, he jumped onto the top of the branch. Must have found a sunny spot, he soon started fluffing his feathers out, sunning and preening.
My photos aren't the greatest, but I got a kick out of his poses!
Looks kind of like a sleeping Ruddy Duck!
That's a LOT of fluff!
Now what is that expression? I suppose we'll call that blissed out. Gotta love that spring sunshine!
I complain alot about living in the city. There is one big advantage to where we live though - warblers!! We live pretty close to the middle of this pretty big city, with a pretty small yard, but quite close to the river and among a lot of big, old trees. So we actually have a pretty cool yard list, all things considered.
We've had Tennessee Warblers, Yellow Warblers, Yellow-Rumped Warblers, Wilsons Warblers, Canada Warblers, Mourning Warblers, Nashville Warblers, Black and White Warblers, Blackpoll Warblers, Bay Breasted Warblers, Chestnut Sided Warblers, Blackburnian Warblers, Cape May Warblers, Palm Warblers, Common Yellowthroats, Ovenbirds, Orange Crowned Warblers and a lone Northern Waterthrush.
Hoping for a Black-Throated Green Warbler for this year! The only other two I think I could even hope for would be Pine Warbler and Northern Parula, but probably very slim chances there!
They don't stay long at all, and nearly all of my pictures I've taken of warblers SUCK, but May is a pretty fun month around here!
Finally had a chance to get out of the city over the weekend! Only had time for a brief trip, so we headed up to Oak Hammock Marsh. Not a whole lot of birds to see yet, but it's always great to leave town! Blue skies and warm temps, what could be better...
There was even some open water! Yay!
Lone tree and distant, colorful clouds
The sky was so pretty
We only saw Canada Geese there, but returned to town by Blackdale Road, and saw a distant hawk! Picture kind of sucks, but looks like a Rough-Legged Hawk to me!
Kingfishers are an amazing family of birds! We only get one of them here, but worldwide, there's a LOT! You can't mistake a kingfisher, no matter whether it's large or small, short or long-tailed, you can't mistake that BEAK! Lots of Kingfishers are amazingly bright colored. Ours, not so much. But they fascinate me. Not sure why. But they sure are cool.
I don't see Kingfishers very often, and haven't managed to get any really good photos of them, even though they can be conspicuous, perching on power lines over flooded ditches (as was my model for the above drawing), or trees near water.
Still working on getting a good scan of the drawing! This one is missing the blue haze, but I seem to have lost some detail in the white areas. Hmmm...
I had actually started drawing a White-Throated Sparrow. But it was a fight. So I switched to this Eared Grebe. He glided right out of the page, smooth as can be! Wish I knew how that happens, so I could do it more often!
This guy is displaying his crest, I liked the way it looked like a tophat!
Eared Grebes are mind blowing. Non-birders only see them in the distance, so they're written off as ducks. But when you start looking with binoculars? They're so different! The slender neck, the fluffy tails, the needle-like bill, the yellow facial plumes, and that red eye! An amazing little bird, pretty common around here, but so rarely appreciated!
Tree Swallow - Graphite on Paper Copyright 2011, Nicole MacPherson
Wow, this has been a long time coming! I actually started a few drawings since finishing the last one, but this is the first one done!
This little guy was stretching and preening, not paying any attention to me at all. I liked this pose because it reminded me of the moment - that stretching and preening. It wasn't until I was well into the drawing that I noticed it was actually a pretty funny pose! What's he saying? "It's thaddaway!" or maybe shilling for a deodorant commercial - "no white marks"!
My dear swallow friend, you have nothing but white marks!