Tuesday, March 24, 2015

First Warbler of 2015

Yellow-rumped Warbler. Watercolor Sketch in Stillman and Birn Gamma Sketchbook by Ken Januski.

I don't normally post on two days in succession. In fact I keep telling myself it would be better to post less rather than more. But the arrival of American Wood Warblers causes all sorts of people to make all sorts of exceptions for all sorts of things. It might even be interesting to compare how many people change their work schedules for the arrival of these migrants compared to those who do so for March Madness. Of course most people may just skip work from their desk to keep up with the basketball games.

In any case I noticed today that we saw our first warbler last year on March 26, a beautiful yellow Pine Warbler. We normally see them before Yellow-rumps but never in the same numbers. After mailing off a Piping Plover woodcut which I was happy to find out I'd sold yesterday we decided to spent a brief time on this cold gray day looking for Pine Warblers. What we didn't expect to find were Yellow-rumps. But we did, in two places, along with three first of year Eastern Phoebes and two Hermit Thrush.

So cold and gray as it may be the first signs of migration, outside of the earlier ducks, are finally here. I was never able to sketch any of today's warblers. Most were very high in trees against an overcast sky. Even the photos I took showed next to nothing. So this is based on a photo from a previous spring.

Yellow-rumps are so ubiquitous that they are not the most inspirational of warblers. But they are nonetheless quite beautiful. And I'd have to say that all my previous attempts have been failures to a large extent. The quick pencil and watercolor sketch above is I'm sure my most successful to date. As with many of my quick watercolor and pencil sketches it's done in a Stillman and Birn Gamma sketchbook. These sketchbooks continue to be my favorite for this type of work. It is really hard for me to believe that it is once again warbler season.

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