Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Nature Observations...

This one started out with an unfinished sketch of my husband (you can see his ball cap under the hummingbirds!), then the guy in the car next to us when we went to the library.  Then, the transitional female cardinal feasting on my mulberries demanded to be drawn...

We ran away from home today and went to check on the flooding on the Missouri River...not bad here, yet, but you can see the boat ramp a bit less than accessible out there in the rapidly moving water.

The hummingbirds were all over the place this evening, and I kept doing quick sketches at our feeder and wondering about their life habits--"gizz," one of you called it?  That's a new term for me, and thank you!

There are certainly more females at our feeder than males, and turns out that's fairly common.  They're aggressive little wenches, as are all hummingbirds.

I got to watch the male do his pendulum-like mating flight the other day, swinging back and forth in front of one of the flirty females.

I looked in all my bird books and couldn't find enough on them..."I'll bet there are whole BOOKS on hummingbirds," I told Joseph.  I wanted to find my old Eyewitness book that includes bird skulls and skeletons to see a closeup of their needle-like bill, but couldn't.  What I DID find was the book referenced on this spread--Hummingbirds, written in 1960 (oops, I had his birthdate, not the pub date!) by Crawford H. Greenewalt, and published by Dover; this edition is from the '90s.  Anyway, it's wonderful--and of course written very differently from some of our dry texts today.  Delighted observation...the kind of nature writing that first hooked me when I read my grandmother's books when I was a kid.  I knew then that I wanted to write about nature when I grew up, and sketch all I could.  I've been fortunate enough to get to do a lot of that, in my life!

Somehow this all seemed to be related...Homo sapiens and all...


  1. I love those 'run away from home days' - this looks like a wonderfully full day! Your vignettes flow beautifully together.

    Rivers flooding where your are, here we're being smoked out by fires in GA and FL. The water temp in our Port Royal Sound is up a couple of degrees from normal for this time of year - some say conditions are so abnormal that we could be a sitting target for a hurricane.... It's been a long, long time since one hit this area. Fingers are crossed, preparations are being made.

  2. I love them too, Pam, and it was very much needed!

    Be safe! Preparations for flooding in our area too, but if we're lucky our little river won't join in its big sister like it did in '93. The local paper had an article about securing hazardous materials, fertilizers and propane tanks near here, though...

  3. Very nice spread and I especially love the cardinal. It seems so unforced and full of character.

  4. I love this page. We have hummers here we feed and I love how they buzz us sitting in the yard or working around the plants. I have been feeding them for years now and they can be very social too. I also got my new North light book, Artist Journal workshop, last night via UPS and I LOVE it. I need a little quiet time now to soak it all up. :)Well done!

  5. Thank you both! Cris, I'm delighted you like the book. Of course, I had to look at all the pictures first...

  6. I love all the action sketches of your little hummers. They seem so alive!

  7. I love seeing a series of freestyle drawings like this! The humming birds are wonderful! How nice to have a day to escape, too. Hope the waters don't get too high - I have too many memories of the Missippi rising in Iowa and the men out sandbagging the levees...

  8. Thank you, Elizabeth and Sandy! I have more hummingbird sketches to post, they have been prolific!

    I hope the rivers don't get too high too, but we have flood warnings all the time now. It rained another 1 1/4" last night...


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