Monday, October 31, 2022



Walking around a nearby lake the other morning, we found this Downy close to the path, the first of 6 species of woodpeckers seen - Downy, Hairy, Red-bellied, Northern Flicker, Yellow-bellied Sapsucker and Pileated! Seeing as Downy Woodpeckers are usually more approachable than others, I was able to do some quick sketches while this female explored the lakeside trees and shrubs. Later I turned those sketches into this drawing when we got back home.

 Also present was this Great Blue Heron and looked amazing as it sat and preened in the morning sun. Since the bird didn't move much, I was able to do more in the way of sketches and studies so after I had finished the Downy drawing, I drew this one. I'll probably paint it in watercolor sometime soon as the light was perfect. Both these were done in my sketchbook, sizes 5 x 8 and 11 x 8 inches.

Sunday, October 23, 2022



On our walks around the harbor, we often saw this beautifully marked female Muscovy Duck. Being quite tame and used to people walking by, it would usually sit quietly on the waters edge where I could sketch and photograph it. There was also a male Mallard that the Muscovy followed around so perhaps they were a pair! A few times I saw the bird in flight and didn't realize how well they can fly as they are usually associated with tame or barnyard collections. This watercolor study was done on Grumbacher paper, size is 12 x 9 inches.

Monday, October 17, 2022



I usually jump across this stream on my way around the reserve but after snow covered the landscape, I hesitated as I didn't want to slip and get wet feet! This is a crossing I like to make as it leads to the old farmhouse which I love to see after a snowstorm. This time, I made it safely across and was rewarded with some wonderful views of the snow-covered farmhouse - a scene I still plan on painting. Size of this one is 11 x 7.5 inches, watercolor on Whatman paper.

Saturday, October 8, 2022



I found this feather in the middle of a field - the scene of an incident I saw in late March while staying on the Eastern Shore. It was quite damaged and I can clearly imagine just how this happened - plucked out during a squabble around a feeding site. It's obvious just where the eagles bill latched on about half way up the shaft and had cut through the barbs. The worn edges and tip show this to be an older secondary feather. My notes in my journal are as follows:

Way out in the middle of the bean field I see a small group of birds that through the telescope resolve themselves to be 2 Sub-adult Bald Eagles, 2 Turkey Vultures and a Black Vulture. The largest eagle is feeding on something that looks to be an animal leg, probably a deer, as I had recently seen one limping heavily. The other birds stand around looking on. Then the slightly smaller eagle (probably a male) walks around the larger eagle and launches an attack trying to snatch some food but is cleanly rebuffed! The female continues to feed while the Black Vulture then tries its luck – up to this point it has been quite active walking around and bullying the other two vultures which for now were just sitting patiently waiting. It moves closer to the feeding eagle crouching slightly but jumps back as the eagle lunges forward. The smaller eagle, senses its luck quickly (and rather nimbly) with one talon reaches out and grabs some of the carrion which looks to be another leg. Both eagles then feed for a while as the vultures look on, occasionally walking around and picking up a small scrap or two. Although being more active, the Black Vulture doesn’t find much either. Then the smaller eagle suddenly takes flight carrying the leg bone! It quickly gains height then disappears in a westerly direction and is gone. After the female has fed for a while longer, she too takes flight but I lose her against the backdrop of trees so don’t see which way she goes. The vultures are left with a few scraps which don’t keep them on the ground for long and they soon take wing then quickly fade into the dying light as evening comes in.