Sunday, August 30, 2009

Am I Beautiful, or What?!

Stub-tailed, long-beaked, knob-kneed! Not the phrases that first spring to mind when discussing beauty. But that is a good description of a Green Heron, and he is beautiful!

Of course the maroon and dark green colors of much of the upper bird helps, as does the rich brown streaking on neck. This one was particularly striking due to the bold zigzag pattern on the wings, seen in the second photo. This is the fresh plumage of a first year bird. He'll keep it until next summer. I'm surprised we've never seen this before but we've rarely been so close to one either. I wonder if his seeming tameness also is related to his age. Or perhaps he was a migrant and too hungry to worry about nearby humans.

We saw him on a 4-hour walk at Tinicum(John Heinz National Wildlife Refuge) today on a beautiful, sunny, breezy 80 day. I'd say he was the high point along with a couple of Marsh Wrens, two Great-Crested Flycatchers and one Willow Flycatcher.

I did have my watercolor field box with me but it seemed better today to stick with the pencil sketches above and the photos. i also wanted to share the scope with my wife so that gave me less time to draw, or paint, with it. Still I certainly wish I'd had time to try some watercolor field sketches of this very handsome bird. I expect you will be seeing some watercolors, and maybe pastels, of him in the future. He is just too striking not to be the subject of more developed artwork.

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