Wednesday, January 27, 2016

Birding by Snowshoe

Myself along the Manayunk Canal. Photo by Ken Januski.

A year ago I broke down and bought some snowshoes, then a short time later bought some more for my wife Jerene. I knew that this would almost guarantee that we would get no snow last winter and probably for the next 5-10 winters. But no, we were able to get out a few times last year. At other times just the poles by themselves proved helpful when hiking icy ruts.

Jerene along the Manayunk Canal. Photo by Ken Januski.

Unfortunately we were not able to get out during our recent snowstorm/blizzard. Then finally today we made it to the Manayunk Canal, where unlike many areas, there was still a lot of snow on the ground. Above you see both me and Jerene. The camera was misbehaving so they're not the best photos but at least they show some documentation of our snowshoe birding.

Though we'd hoped to see some winter waterfowl, especially along the Schuylkill River, there wasn't anything unusual. But we did see four Common Mergansers and three Hooded Mergansers, the first of 2016. Seeing them is always a sign that winter really is here!

Ruddy Turnstone at Stone Harbor jetty. Brush Painting by Ken Januski.

Just as we've been too busy to enjoy the snow I've been too busy to do any artwork. But I found an hour a day or two ago to do this brush painting of a Ruddy Turnstone seen on a jetty at Stone Harbor, NJ last May. I continue to enjoy working with a Chinese brush and ink stick.


Ellen Snyder said...

Hi Ken,

You got snow and we did not. Not fair! The bit we have will disappear by next week.

I do love birding in winter, on snowshoes. In the right location, you can stop and hear only leaves rustling and soft notes of chickadees and nuthatches.

And, ruddy turnstones are one of my favorite shorebirds so enjoyed that too!


Sandra said...

Very nice drawing - very graphic. A Ruddy Turnstone is a good choice. Birding by snowshow? I'd be too busy just trying to walk! Good for you.

Ken Januski said...

Hi Ellen,

Well I guess the tables have been turned, even if only momentarily. I'm always envying you your snow and mountains! I do think one of the best parts of being out in a snow covered landscape is the silence, only occasionally accented by leaves, birds, etc. In today's world this sort of silence seems to be one of the most unappreciated things that we have. I'm sure you're able to experience quite regularly where you live.

Glad you enjoyed the turnstone. We only seem then when we go to the Jersey Shore and even then we don't see them that often. These were seen with a few Purple Sandpipers so it was a double treat! As soon as I saw them together I thought that I wanted to do some art based on them but that is still off in the future, perhaps the distant future!


Ken Januski said...

Thanks Sandra,

We were not as steady on our feet as we might be if we got snow more regularly here. By the way that is indeed a rare bird on your blog! I knew it was quite unfamiliar but had to look at the post to identify it. It's amazing what shows up, especially in winter.