Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Not So Dignified: Great Blue Heron

Here is one of our more dignified birds …. Well sometimes. 

I started the first sketch in the field, then refined it after I looked at Dale’s photographs … and then inked.  Like most fishermen I know this heron has a favorites spot to fish.  He almost disappears into the clump of tall grasses next to a little pond. 
This is a different heron, different pond.  He is done fishing for now.  He stands tall, the inner sides of his wings exposed to the winter sunlight.  First he makes sure the sun reaches into one ‘armpit’ and then the other.  He was well wetted when we first arrived.  Either the heron took a bath, or drenched himself while fishing. 

Such a funny pose for a dignified bird!

Monday, January 20, 2014

Eagles Singing

We are half way to the Coast and pull over because three red-shouldered hawks are having a territorial dispute – hormones are revving up for the new nesting season.  The three are chasing and calling, probably a pair trying to oust an intruder.  Off in the distance I spot one bald eagle, then two.  Their heads and tails sparkle white against a grey sky. 

Two ravens fly to a nearby tree.  Not welcome!  One eagle chases them off.  He (?) soon returns to his mate and tips his head way back, singing.  Both sing.  The still air carries their melodious chittering from the top of their high perch, across a marshy meadow and to us.  A solid stream of high notes and low pours forth until they have greeted each other properly.  

One eagle leaves; soon returns and lands in a nearby Douglas fir, a dense one.  The second follows.  There is a nest in there!  Furthermore one of the eagles brought in a wad of marsh grass.  They line their stick nests with a cup of softer material.  These two much be getting serious about nesting. 

We’re about half a mile from the nest we found in October.  Like other eagles we’ve known, this pair has two nest sites, at least I assume it’s the same pair.
We watch the eagles and red-shouldered hawks for a while and then go on to the coast.  Cooler and windier there than we expected … so we return to the eagles.  Two eagles now at the first nest, the nest we found in October.  All is quiet at this morning’s location.  These two are resting.  The sun will be setting soon.