Wednesday, April 30, 2014


While down at the nearby lake some time ago, I sat sketching and painting a Great Blue Heron that was resting on the opposite side. The day was warm with clear blue skies that seemed to go on forever and occasional bird song came from nearby along with the calls of Song Sparrows in the bushes close to where I sat. I had almost finished one sketch when I noticed the heron beginning to twist its neck in a most peculiar way - something that I had never observed before so I made a quick drawing of it.

At first I thought that it had seen some prey item on a nearby sapling but it made no move other than a further twisting of the head. After some time I realized that in fact it was looking up into the sky so I lay back in the long grass to take a look. Almost immediately I saw an adult Bald Eagle soaring at a great height overhead. Grabbing my binoculars I watched the bird sailing through the slight breeze without a single wing beat moving slowly to the South until after a few minutes it merged into the haze.

The lesson for me was that birds are far more aware of their surroundings than we are and without the telltale skyward look of the heron, I would have had no idea that the eagle was there. Now sitting indoors on yet another wet and windy day, I wish that the rain would stop so I could go back to the lake and take in some of the Spring migrants. All artwork done in my sketchbook, various sizes.


John Holmes said...

I guess being aware of their surroundings is really a potential life-or-death situation for wild animals. Happily, not so for humans in places where the really dangerous stuff has been extirpated.

Jeremy Pearse said...

Yes, very different for us - except for the times when we find ourselves in the wild and far from civilization. I remember during safaris in Africa when I stepped out of the car, even for a short while, one really feels acutely aware and just how vulnerable we are.