Tuesday, September 23, 2014

A Surprise Harvest and a Great Egret on One Leg

Harvester Butterfly at Manayunk Canal. Photo by Ken Januski.

It was such a beautiful, though cool, day today that I went out birding twice, once in the morning by myself and later in early afternoon with Jerene. Broadwings low overhead started the day at Houston Meadows and they were followed by numerous sparrows, though many of them I just couldn't see enough of to identify. Perhaps a Lincoln's and then again perhaps not.

In any case seeing so many sparrows seemed perfect for the first day of fall. The seasons are changing and so are the flora and fauna. The real surprise of the day though were 4-5 of the butterflies pictured above. A Harvester, the only carnivorous American butterfly. My first thought, as we saw them along the Manayunk Canal, was that it was a skipper that I wasn't familiar with. When I checked my guides back home though I realized it wasn't a skipper. Nor a checkerspot, nor a crescent. Eventually I realized that it was a Harvester. And the guides said they were rare enough to be quite a nice find. So there it was: a surprise Harvester on the first day of what I consider harvest season.

Eastern-tailed Blues and Duskywings were also about as were a number of Slaty Skipper dragonflies which I've seen the last few times I've visited the Manayunk Canal. We didn't really see as many birds as I would have liked but I can't at all complain. Today was just a day to enjoy being out and alive, regardless of what birds, butterflies and dragonflies we saw.

Great Egret on One Leg.Watercolor Sketch by Ken Januski.

I haven't stopped my practice of doing a watercolor sketch of birds that I've drawn in the field. About a week ago I saw this lone Great Egret at Morris Arboretum, standing on one leg for much of the time. This is a quick watercolor rendering of that scene. I made him  a bit too big to fit comfortably on the paper. And yet at the end of the painting I think it worked just fine. This is another drawing with a brush watercolor.

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