Monday, October 3, 2011

Cooler Temps Plus Outdoors Equals Bliss!

Autumn arrived in Florida on October 1st with much cooler temperatures and lower humidity! I didn't need much more of a reason than that to get outside and get in some sketching.
Osprey Drive Park
Stillman & Birn Sketchbook
Watercolor and Ink
7 x 7 inches
Click to enlarge
I didn't get a particularly early start, but it didn't seem to matter. I went to one of our local "no-name" walking/biking paths and set off with my sketch kit....and the requisite travel mug of coffee!

Lots of people were out with the dogs, getting some fresh air, roller blading, biking, running or just sitting on the benches to enjoy the day. I wasn't hopeful of spotting much wildlife with so much activity and figured I'd working on capturing a landscape.

I wasn't more than an eighth of a mile down the path when I noticed the Anhinga doing his thing up in a tree by the pond. More of a bush really. He bobbled and bounced as he went through his grooming process.

He seemed to have a very itchy neck! He would start scratching right above his chin and then work his way up to to as far as he could go. His neck would get longer and longer with the effort.

The bird was quite busy moving around, but every once and a while he'd just freeze as if he'd seen a bug floating by. Or a ghost. I didn't see him snap at anything so maybe he caught a smell of danger or .....who knows!

Further along the path, I just happened to catch a small movement out in the left field of my peripheral vision—it was the swamp bunny! I totally missed his shape, but this was drawn from mostly memory because as soon as I took an interest in him, he took an interest in leaving—two hops and he was gone!

The little Downy Woodpecker was about 15 feet up a palm tree. Unfortunately, I couldn't see his face in either of the fuzzy snapshots I took of him, so I must assume it was a Downy rather than a Hairy Woodpecker which is similar in plumage but larger in size. The body shape isn't quite right...like most critters, he was busy going about the business of his life and didn't have time to pose for me!

A glorious morning altogether! And I'm off to do it again today!

12 comments:

  1. Your time outside sounds perfect to me. What a beautiful day and your sketches reflect that. AAahhhh Fall.

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  2. What a beautiful and perfect day! One feels so refreshed after a like this.

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  3. Fascinating for me to see your sketches of critters that are totally alien to us in the UK. I really enjoyed the description of your walk too. x

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  4. Yay for fall!! The weekend was so awesome. Loved your sketches and the description of the walk. I'll bet you really enjoyed yourself.

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  5. Love seeing your sketches! I really must try to get out more with my sketchbook - though have to admit I find it incredibly difficult to capture animals and birds outside and tend to use my photos in the comfort of the studio!

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  6. What a delicious wander, complete with sketches. I'd would have enjoyed being your shadow.

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  7. I can imagine how you're lapping up the cooler weather Laure. Nice to come across the water-bird (have never heard of that one) and other wildlife to sketch. Enjoyed sharing your moment in the outdoors.

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  8. This is fun. I need to do more plein air drawing. I take a camera but should take my sketch book. Altho the minute it turned October here it dived down in temps and has been raining. So our Fall is a lot cooler and wetter then yours. Look forward to what you find today.

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  9. And the first of October here resulted in cooler temps and MORE humidity - yay! Your sketches look great.

    I know how those bunnies can move so fast and you hang on to that memory hoping it'll last till you get it down on the paper! I think you did pretty well. According to Irene Brady in her Nature Sketching Basics book, we learn to make new templates from drawing animals when they are still or from photos so when they run like yours did, we can get a pretty good drawing (I am paraphrasing her so my apologies if I didn't get it quite right). I think she's right. Your bunny looks like a bunny who was enjoying a snack till he found he needed to bolt.

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  10. Hooray! Happy to hear you have cooler weather now, too! I've enjoyed experiencing your walk with you. Nothing makes my heart sing like observing long necked birds. They are so calligraphic! Great captures :)

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  11. The cooler, drier weather is wonderful! I love these vignettes from your walk - I've done those and when I look at them later the whole experience comes rushing back. How nice to see the wildlife in spite of all the people. Those muted foliage colors behind the anhinga set it off so well!

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  12. Sounds like a very nice park. Good way to record nature at its best.

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