Day 8 of World Watercolor Month (Flying High) and also Draw a Bird Day for July
This cute little songbird is a blue gray gnatcatcher. It eats insects (apparently gnats are a favorite) and spiders, and it uses silk from spider webs to construct its nest.
It can also catch insects while in flight, which is kinda cool. We need a dozen or so of these birds in our yard this time of year when lots of icky things are buzzing about. Hope your summer is going well!
Here are some quick sketches completed in my new sketchbook over the past couple of months. We have a local, 23-acre, county park very nearby in which we take many walks. Even though it is on the corner of two very busy streets, once in the park you forget all that hustle and bustle. The park is also unique in that the majority of the trails are paved and handicap accessible, complete with braille signs and waist-high gardens. Other features include a pond, wildflower prairie, a small bamboo forest, and a barn for park programs.
This is a sketch of the old homestead at the nature preserve, and the house now serves as a gift shop. This is a view of it through the trees near the entrance.
Here is the fire pit area where many programs are held and where naturalists cook maple syrup during Maple Sugar Days each year. When the kids were small we took many family walks at the park, and because not much was happening at the fire pit on weekday evenings, my kids took the opportunity to use the area as a stage and would perform “shows” for us after our walks. Note part of the bamboo forest in the upper right corner of this sketch.
We saw this cute little guy hopping around, and this is a female cardinal sitting on her speckled eggs. We also see deer, turtles, snakes, frogs, many varieties birds, and all the other usual critters that live in this area.
One section of the park is home to numerous sassafras trees, which have an odd twisting characteristic to their trunks. They really are quite fascinating. I remember learning about sassafras trees when I was in grade school because a teacher said the leaves look like mittens.
I’m looking forward to the fall weather and watching all the changes take place at the nature preserve, and I’m glad we have such an extraordinary place so close to home.
Even though many of us bloggers celebrate Draw A Bird Day monthly on the 8th, today is the originally recognized Draw A Bird Day, April 8. Personally, I like celebrating it each month because I enjoy using birds for subjects in my work, and now because they are abundantly hopping around in the back yard, I present an American Robin, based on a beautiful photograph taken by Jennifer Livick’s American Robin Photo at Paint My Photo.
This robin was painted perched on dead tree branches with a soft blue background in order to show off the bird’s distinctive coloring. We have had buckets of rain lately, so I am sure there are plenty of worms in the yard for them to hunt. Many years in a row Robins have built a nest on our downspout, but we must keep our distance! Grownup Robins aren’t fond of anyone getting too near the nest – they will chatter angrily and dive bomb, so we observe behind the safety of our screened-in porch. Hubby has to be on alert when going past the nest while cutting the grass! Spring is finally here in all its glory; the weather can’t make up its mind if it wants to be warm or cold and we have experienced high winds, rain, and even snowflakes, but we’ve also had warm sunshine, blue skies, gentle breezes, and robins! Now to take a walk before the rain rolls in . . .