Friday, February 15, 2013

GBBC Day One - Mergansers and Grebes

Great Backyard Bird Count 2013 - Day One. Pied-billed Grebes, Common Mergansers and Black Vulture at Manayunk Canal. Watercolor by Ken Januski

We started the Great Backyard Bird Count for 2013 by birding Manayunk Canal and a small stretch of the Schuylkill River which joins it. The watercolor above is a composite of birds seen today, drawn and painted primarily from memory. I did do one field sketch of an oddly posed Great Blue Heron but it's not good enough to show.

So instead I thought it made sense to do a quick watercolor from memory. We saw the Common Mergansers and Pied-billed Grebes together though not quite as close together as this indicates. They were in the Schuylkill River near where it joins the Manayunk Canal. It was also nice to see one Black Vulture so I've added him behind them, though in actuality I never saw him on that side of the river. Artistic liberty!

I don't see Common Mergansers all that often and never quite as close as this indicates. Pied-billed Grebes I see more often than the merganser, and closer, but still not all that often. So I first did this strictly from memory then looked at my photos and other references to fine tune them. This is a very rough sketch with very little detail. But its purpose is not to serve as a field guide, nor as great art. Just a reminder of an enjoyable day out birding in winter.

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