Tuesday, December 27, 2016

Scratch Sketches and Why I Don't Paint

I did a few scratchboard sketches.

This is a jawbone that I did for Joy.
This is a Reddish Egret dancing (for no reason) that I did for Heather. The quote is from the Steam Powered Giraffe song, "Make Believe".
This is a Belted Kingfisher that I did for me. This has long been my nemesis bird, I had never gotten a good photo of one. Finally, on the Cocoa Christmas Bird Count, I got a good photo. This sketch is based on the photo.

Watercolor, Turkey Creek.
Watercolor, Sebastian Inlet. This is supposed to be a Brown Pelican, but I was looking at the painting after I brought it home and realized it looks more like this.

Saturday, December 10, 2016

Ditch 13 Birding Hot Spots Tour December 9

We had an awesome trip out to Sebastian Inlet today. Thanks so much to Jessica for joining us. Here are a few highlights of our trip.

 We started off with great looks at Northern Gannets.
A Ruddy Turnstone posed nice.
My nom! You can't has!
Sometimes I pretend to be a decent photographer, but most times the birds just make it so easy. This Wood Stork posed so perfect for me, I didn't even have to crop. I love the way she is showing off her dainty little pink toes.
These 4 pictures tell a story:

"Hey, I bet I can make a goofier face than you!"
"Ha. Go for it."
"TA DA!!!"

"Dang, you win."
 (Singing:) "I am the champion, I am the champion, of the Woooooooorrrrrllllld!"
These Willets were almost impossible to see because they blended in with the rocks so well. I honestly wasn't sure if I had them in the picture till I downloaded it.
 Woo-hoo! This was my 319th photographic life bird, Pomerine Jaeger.
 Another story series:

"Gee mom and dad, I can't wait till I get big and my beak turns orange like yours!"
 {sigh} "So do you want to tell him he's adopted, or should we just buy him a copy of Sibley and let him figure it out himself?"
Looking forward to our next tour. Thank so much to Nick at Ditch 13 Gallery and Gifts for helping us promote our tours.

Friday, December 9, 2016

Goodwin WMA and Manatee Watch

Here are some pictures from Wednesday's trip to Goodwin WMA, and today's Manatee watch. It was a classic manatee day, air temperature was 52, water temp was 74. Click pictures to embiggen.

American Kestrel at Goodwin WMA
Red-shouldered Hawk at Goodwin WMA

Sunday, December 4, 2016

My Solstice Lights

So, I decided to put up Solstice lights this year. I'm drunk at the moment, but I never learned to photograph in the dark anyway so I don't think pictures would come out even if I hadn't consumed the rum. Anyway, here are my Solstice lights. Click to embiggen the pictures.

Close up of sun and earth. I'm thinking I should add more planets next year. I didn't do a good job with the continents, maybe will take it apart and do a tidier job next year. But I do like the way the sun came out. I wasn't going to paint the bicycle tire, but I'm really glad I did, it looks much nicer.
Long shot from further down the road of the fence, the sun, the earth, and Spongebob and friends.
Spongebob and Squidward. I might have paint these next year, they are getting pretty faded. 
Patrick and Sandy.

Saturday, November 19, 2016

Ditch 13 Hot Spots Tour

We had a nice tour this morning. Didn't have a huge species list, but we did have some posers. Here's what we saw today:

 We started off the day with a Loggerhead Shrike in the Stick Marsh parking lot. Unfortunately, we immediately realized that they were allowing hunting today (we didn't think they started till Thanksgiving day) so we had to drop back and punt.
 There was a Kestrel on the wire. Kind of odd, I'm just not seeing these in the numbers I usually do this time of year.
A late butterfly.
A flock of Glossy Ibises
A Phoebe who posed nicely for us. David got a great phone skope picture of him.
A Palm Warbler.
A Mockingbird, looking jaunty.
A group of vultures. What made me laugh is that they didn't look so much like they flew in here, they kind of just looked like they were tossed up there by the same type of person who just throws tinsel on the christmas tree.
Part of a larger flock of Great Egrets. We had few.  But then again, too few to mention.
A Little Blue Heron.

Because of the hunting, we really couldn't walk out into the Stick Marsh or Goodwin WMA, so we decided to head over to the buffer preserve to show off our Florida Scrub Jays.
Unfortunately, they had just done a prescribed fire, so the Scrub Jays had scattered. But then, right as we were about to head out, David heard some and this little guy came down to pose for us.
At our next stop, we had a bunch of posers! Here is a Great Egret.
And a Glossy Ibis.
This was my favorite poser of the day, an insanely cute immature Wood Stork.
He even looked right at the camera for me. What a nice bird!
The St. Sebastian River Preserver State Park (FKA "the buffer preserve" is one of my favorite places in Florida, and I am so lucky to live so close to it. Even when the birds aren't plentiful, it's still an amazingly pretty place to hang out.
No Manatees today, but there was a Peninsula Cooter where the Manatees will be in a few days when the temperature drops.
Clearly the air traffic controllers were not doing their job today. We saw these 2 Osprey fly into each other.
And we ended the day with another poser, a Little Blue Heron.

Always fun to be out there in the wild. Please come out and join us on a future trip. Click here to see our upcoming events.

Sunday, October 23, 2016

Indian River Birding and Nature Festival

David and I had a blast leading trips and teaching classes at the Indian River Birding and Nature Festival this weekend. Here are some of our highlights!

Our first trip was an owl prowl. We didn't see any owls. Our second trip was to Jungle Trail and Sebastian Inlet. This was a much more productive trip. This was a Phoebe.
We got great looks at some Reddish Egrets at the beach.
The Reddish Egret, looking poised.
It's amazing to me how much their color changes with the light. The Reddish Egret almost looks grey here.
The Wood Stork was looking particularly handsome today.
Definitely a little poser.
Kind of like the Snowy Egret, the Wood Stork's shoes and sox don't match.
If you see a linebacker standing with a bunch of gulls, that is the Herring Gull.
A Willet photobombing my Herring Gull.
A Palm Warbler. You can't tell from this picture, but you can identify them by the way they constantly wag their tail up and down.
A Blue-grey Gnatcatcher.
The moon looking all picturesque in daytime.
Me, teaching our Introduction to Birding class (Photo by Heather.)
A few years ago, I took a course to become a certified interpretive guide. I passed the class, but the one critique I got is that flail about wildly when I speak. Unfortunately, I still do. Someone suggested today that I join Toastmasters, I might look into it.
Ok, now here, I am supposed to be flailing about wildly, I am demonstrating the flight pattern of the woodpecker (for those who have taken the class, you will remember it's swoop-swoop-weeeeeeeeee!)
Here is David, explaining a birding concept quite intensely.
Today we led a trip out to the Stick Marsh and Goodwin WMA. This is still one of my favorite places. We were greeted in the parking lot by this Black Vulture.
I don't know that I've ever actually captured a Green Heron with any green on it before. But here you go.
A Little Blue Heron, looking particularly colorful this morning. It was a chilly morning but it was beautiful out there.
Cattle Egrets in flight.
For those who took the class, you will remember we talk about how pointy the Anhinga is in flight. I think they look like an arrow being shot from a bow.
A Night Heron with an Anhinga.
So, I was trying to remember who the Great Egret in flight reminds me of. Then I remembered.
Grackles are still one of my favorites. I love how they look dull from one angle but then when the light hits them just right they just burst into color.
A particularly picturesque Mockingbird.
A Turkey Vulture.
Ok, this is a series of 3 that tell a story:

Turkey Vulture: Wow, what is that awful smell??
Black Vulture: I have no idea what you are talking about, I don't smell anything at all!
Black Vulture: HAHAHAHAHA Just kidding! I farted!
Turkey Vulture: Get off my fence.
A White Peacock, getting up there in years . He was pretty, but his edges are torn and his color is pretty faded, both of which are signs of aging.
An Osprey getting a take out meal.
A bunch of Cowbirds. Not a particularly interesting bird, I just thought there was something interesting about the array of them on the wires.
And finally, a posing Little Blue Heron.

Thanks so much to everyone who came out to play with us at the festival this weekend. We hope to see you out there, and look forward to hearing about your birding adventures! And don't forget, if you want to join us, check out David's blog for our upcoming events, including trips out of Ditch 13 Gallery and Gifts.