12 April 13

Double-crested Cormorant

Double-crested cormorant, pen and wash I went for a walk around the Arboretum at lunchtime with Nancy Anderson. We saw a few birds, including a hard-to-identify warbler or vireo high up in a cottonwood. It was warm and we saw three species of turtle sunning… This breeding-plumaged double-crested cormorant was splendid in the middle of the lake.

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12 April 13

Tom Turkey in Poppies

Turkey in poppies, pen and wash

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11 April 13

Sketching Birds Around the Continent

American kestrel, pen and wash I’ve been traveling for a month, visiting friends and family, availing myself of a 30-day Amtrak pass with 12 train segments. You have to be really fast to sketch from the train and a lot of the train sketches are blasted through in pen and colored in after the fact. This kestrel was seen from the train station at San Luis Obispo, where we stopped for about 10 minutes.

Bald eagle, pen and wash I kept a list of birds I saw from the train. Mostly large birds, of course, generally robin-sized or larger. The best bird from the train was the gray hawk that’s wintered in Carpinteria, California, but I was pretty jazzed about the sooty shearwater I saw off the coast west of Santa Barbara too, and the bald and golden eagles (Colorado and Nevada respectively). The short-eared and burrowing owls by the side of the tracks on the east slope of the Rockies were also pretty exciting, one after the other.

Brown rosy-finch, pen and wash My cousin Maggie drove me up to the Sandia Crest from Albuquerque where I saw two life birds, brown and black rosy finches. Lots of other notables I didn’t see from the train, including American woodcock at my sister’s in Maine, pileated woodpecker at Dave’s in Pennsylvania, fish crows and more bald eagles at my brother’s in Juneau (no trains to Juneau, I flew there with my mother).

Crowd looking for fieldfare in Carlisle, MA, pen and wash

Pine siskin, pen and wash There were great extremes of temperature on this trip. I spent a day with my friend Linda looking for, but failing to find, a fieldfare in Carlisle, Massachusetts. It was sunny but bitterly cold. Marcia Bonta’s feeders had a good selection of sparrows and other passerines, feeding furiously in the snow. A roadrunner sang its mournful song on the banks of the Rio Grande in Albuquerque; it was close to 80° F.

birds at Marcia Bonta's, pen and wash

Steller's jay, pen and wash It’s not the best way to bird if you’re looking for quality sightings, but I didn’t take this trip to bird. Birds were with me all the time, though, and I tried to sketch as many as I could. A small sample is included here. All sketches were made with a purple Pilot G4 pen with a watercolor wash.

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11 February 13

Condors and Vultures

Condors and vultures, pen and ink Doodling during a meeting when there were vultures and California condors on the screen…

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31 January 13

Flickers in the Dew

Northern flicker, pen andink

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23 January 13

Red-Shouldered Hawk on Pole

red-shouldered hawk, pen and ink

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15 January 13

Crows on a Cold Morning

American crows: pen and ink

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7 January 13

Turkey Vulture

Turkey vulture, pen and ink A turkey vulture perched on the phone pole and sat there for a while — enough for me to get a couple of sketches in. I love these birds.

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3 January 13

A Trip to Lodi

We went to see some friends who were house-sitting near Lodi on Sunday. Ron and Joe are great birders so after some bread, cheese, olives and zinfandel jelly, we went out birding.

Drake Common Merganser, Derwent Coloursoft on Canson (Drake Common Merganser, Derwent Coloursoft on Canson) I sketched this common merganser along the Mokelumne River, not quite sure of the state/county park’s name. It had been resting on a log but took to the water as we approached.

We stopped by the Woodbridge Road sandhill crane preserve. We were a little early for the fly-in but decided to drive all the way to the end, where we found a good flock of sandhills. On the way back, several more had come in and we had four very close to the road. By then the thin winter sun was starting to set, casting a gorgeous purple/pink hue over everything, including Mount Diablo to the west. I need to get some purple/pink Canson paper, obviously.

Sandhill cranes, Derwent Coloursoft on Canson

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30 November 12

Western Bluebirds

Western Bluebirds, Carbothello on Canson paper
Finally got my bluebirds done for the Yolo Audubon fall drawing next week… This is pastel on Canson paper.

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