Saturday, June 11, 2011

Sketching Water Birds at Pinckney Island WMA

I had the good fortune to meet and bird with Kelly, of Red and the Peanut blog this week. I sooo love meeting blogging friends :)

Our destination was Pinckney Island Wildlife Management Area, Hilton Head Island, SC. This wonderful place is just about 6  miles from my house and I'm ashamed to say I just don't get a chance to go there that often. We walked to Ibis Pond. Kelly has a keen eye and pointed out many a bird treat.  The first was a Boat-tailed Grackle, Quiscalus major, nest built within the cattail reeds - a beautiful, deep structure constructed from dead cattail reeds and woven into living cattails.

Kelly captured this sketching moment for me :) My scope is just in front of me. I love sketching with a scope. My sketching combines both blind and modified contour techniques.

The Grackles were flying above us, sounding like helicopters. Just as I was about to move on, I saw a Grackles beak rise above the side of the nest!

I moved a bit more to the left and started to draw a pair of Ibis. The Funky Ibis on the left side of the page was totally blind contour.... thus it's beak is a bit on the funky side :) This one was perched above and to the left of a nest, the other laying on the nest. Just when I was going to start sketching the Ibis on the nest, they traded places. Dang... But, it was fun to see the changing of the guard :)

Then I spotted two juvi Tricolored Herons, Egretta tricolor, with fantastic 'bad hair' heads. Oooo they are so fun!

We moved around to see the more densely populated trees. Just amazing. Kelly said the bird numbers are actually down from her visit here last year.  We are in the midst of a drought which directly affects nesting. I can't believe how much the cattails have filled in the pond since my visit in 2009.  It's a wonder there's any open water. 

Here's a taste of what we were viewing...
White Ibis, Eudocimus albus, in rookery

This short video of Little Blue Herons, Egretta caerulea, shows adults flying in to feed their babies.  Immature Little Blues are always white. Their feathers will start to darken after their first spring. You can distinguish them from Snowy Egrets, Egretta thula, by noting coloration of their beak (pale grayish green) and legs (pale dull green). I shot this with my little Nikon Coolpix.  I so love this camera :) Kelly's doing most of the narrative. She's so funny!

And, the completed journal page... I added color at home.
It was so good to finally meet you, Kelly!! Let's do this again :)


  1. Great work and nice calligraphy, Pam. As a bird lover, I envy your opportunity to study and sketch these lovely birds

  2. What a great day and opportunity. Love your sketches.

  3. WOW. This just turned out beautifully, and what a day! Is that named for Eliza Pinckney?

  4. Thanks, sketching birds, Mary and Kate! It was a fast two hours and we barely made it out of area before the gate closed. We were having way too much fun to worry about time :)

    Kate, the island was once included in the plantation of Major General Charles Cotesworth Pinckney. Eliza was his Mom!!

  5. Very cool! She was quite the botanical pioneer, wasn't she!


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