Saturday, August 8, 2015

Dragonflycatchers, Tomatoes and Tidbits

Flycatchers are among the comparatively small number of birds expert enough to catch dragon flies on the wing, and these insects are too wary to be taken sitting.
Arthur Cleveland Bent, Life Histories of North American Flycatchers, Larks, Swallows and Their Allies, p.218, Least Flycatcher entry. Published by Dover Books, 1963.
Eastern Wood Pewee Eating Dragonfly. Watercolor Sketch by Ken Januski

Flycatcher Eating Dragonfly. Photo by Ken Januski.

After seeing what I'm just about positive was a very early Least Flycatcher this week I have been reading Arthur Cleveland Bent's book noted above. I was quite surprised, though perhaps I shouldn't have been, to read how unusual it is for birds to be able to catch dragonflies. Along with the Least Flycatcher we saw numerous other flycatchers, mainly Eastern Wood Pewees and Traill's Flycatcher. I say Traill's because I think a couple of birds were Willow Flycatchers. But since they didn't call there is no way to separate the more likely Willow from the nearly identical Alder. The photo above, from that day is most likely a Eastern Wood Pewee, though the glare and washed out color remove a lot of the field marks that could confirm this. Above is a watercolor sketch I did a few years ago of an Eastern Wood Pewee about to swallow a rather large dragonfly. I do love both flycatchers and dragonflies so their combination, though bad luck for the dragonflies, is quite interesting  to me.

Cherokee Purple, Unger's Cherry, Stupice, Brandywine, Mexico Midget, Tasty Evergreen, Cherokee Purple and Yellow Pear Tomatoes. Photo by Ken Januski.

Also interesting and tasty to boot are all of the tomatoes that are now coming ripe in our garden. All of them above are grown from seed from Seed Saver's Exchange though the very small Mexico Midget are volunteers from seeds planted years ago that keep reseeding year after year. I'm not complaining! I don't often show much from our garden but I did want to show these beautiful and tasty tomatoes.

Killdeer Chick, Young Green Heron and Great Blue Heron. Sumi Brush Pen Field Sketch by Ken Januski.

Though I've been out birding a fair amount this week I've done very few sketches. Above are two of the young Killdeer which I said in an earlier post are too bad to show. Oh  well. On the facing page a young Green Heron and beneath him a striding Great Blue Heron. I'm really only showing this to show that I'm still working in the field with the sumi brush pen and because I like the Great Blue Heron sketch.

Below a less successful Great Blue Heron, sideways Green Heron and young Wood Duck from Morris Arboretum today. Though there's not much to the Wood Duck sketch I do like it. To a certain extent these sum sketches are accomplishing what I want: they are simple, get a sense of the pose, and might be enough to spur me on to a print or painting.

Wood Duck, Great Blue Heron and Green Heron. Sumi Brush Pen Field Sketch by Ken Januski.

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