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Old Sunday 27th March 2011, 21:26   #351
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Great work, John. Really looking forward to hopefully many more installments.

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Old Monday 28th March 2011, 05:51   #352
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Even eagles better not mess with nesting falcons...!

Thanks Ed, Tim and Russ!

Well, today was an interesting day in the 'Falls Falcons' neighborhood. Unfortunately due to schedule and weather, I wasn't there to personally witness the significant events, but two of my friends were. It seems that a Bald Eagle (adult) innocently came flying up the river into the Peregrines 'no-fly zone'. The tiercel was on the scrape relieving the female from incubation duties at the time. He was not happy to see the eagle, and immediately left the scrape and went into attack mode, to great effect. The eagle retreated, protesting loudly in the words of one of my friends, and 'crying like a scared baby' in the words of the other fellow who witnessed it. Satisfied with his defense of the area, the tiercel returned to the scrape. Apparently the female did not participate in the attack, although in past years both have defended the home turf - one time several years ago a Red-tailed Hawk made the same mistake and came under attack from both falcons. In that case, the Peregrines drove the poor hawk so low in the canyon that people who saw the attack thought the bird would be driven into the river and drown.

A second bit of exciting news today is that it was confirmed that there are at least FOUR eggs in the scrape, with an additional one becoming visible today. Whether it was laid this late, or (more likely) was exposed to view when the female rotated the eggs we won't know. Hopefully all will hatch, and fledge. Time will tell!

One of the folks who witnessed the eagle turning tail and running is Scott, the friend of mine whose videos I mentioned earlier. He took a shot of the female taking a break by perching on a branch while hubby did the incubation and eagle defense duties. I sketched the following tonight from his photo, while watching TV in the background. She is a large bird, and was all fluffed up from the rain showers and breeze today.

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Old Monday 28th March 2011, 16:07   #353
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excellent

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Old Monday 28th March 2011, 19:33   #354
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Keep at it John. My guess is that you'll be thrilled at the end of this project( If you're not already!)
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Old Tuesday 29th March 2011, 10:13   #355
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lovely pergr. and looking forwerd to the updates
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Old Wednesday 30th March 2011, 11:32   #356
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Terrific, John - keep at it.
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Old Monday 4th April 2011, 18:10   #357
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very nice - must be great seeing into the scrape - our local pere's give you neckache looking up at them!
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Old Wednesday 6th April 2011, 07:44   #358
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just catching up with your thread and the exciting adventure...great work.
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Old Wednesday 6th April 2011, 08:28   #359
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Missing my grins John. I had it confirmed yesterday that they've moved elsewhere. They are on the top of a tower block about a mile or so away and I doubt they will be visible from the ground, so I'll just have to hope that they decide to bring the young back here when (and if) they fledge.

Keep up the observations and show us the sketches, that way I can feel involved with the fortunes of your grins!

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Old Thursday 7th April 2011, 01:17   #360
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Well, the horrendously wet spring we are having (cold, also, almost ten degrees F below normal) has conspired to prevent any sketching on site. The rain also resulted in a fairly late in the season flood on the Snoqualmie River, which has settled down now but the water flow over the falls is such that you get a misty bath whether it's actually raining or not. Today some sunbreaks happened and I packed up the gear and headed over. As I was finishing setting up, it started to rain, and hail. Back to the house...

So instead of drawing from life while looking through the scope, I finished this sketch which I started in graphite two nights ago. I decided to add watercolor and did it in multiple short sessions. I used a reference photo from a photographer friend of mine. I think I'll use this pose in a painting with some more context and taking some more time on it...maybe an oil piece down the road a bit.

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Old Thursday 7th April 2011, 17:18   #361
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way to go all the power of a Grin there
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Old Friday 8th April 2011, 12:46   #362
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have to agree with Arthur - those wings have all the power they're supposed to have.
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Old Friday 8th April 2011, 13:29   #363
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Quote:
Originally Posted by nickderry View Post
have to agree with Arthur - those wings have all the power they're supposed to have.
I just don't see Peregrine's all that often. But I certainly trust the truth of what Arthur and Nick say. Hope you get some better weather soon so you can resume your sketchbook from life. Another day of rain here I'm afraid.........
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Old Friday 8th April 2011, 17:04   #364
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love the peregrine

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Old Saturday 9th April 2011, 15:31   #365
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Nice work again, John.
I'm intrigued with the practice of drawing from photographs, or rather the difficulty of it! Recently I re-drew (copied) a few field sketches for illustrations but the birds in question have all but lost the vitality of the original sketch and are even proportionately off the mark - not apparent at the time! I wonder if drawing from pics is fraught with the same dangers? Obviously not everyone has the problem, as the work here testifies.

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Old Tuesday 12th April 2011, 11:52   #366
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That's a nice, strong flier John. I hope you've had more chance to get out for more sketches recently.

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Old Thursday 14th April 2011, 16:59   #367
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Sage Thrasher

My propensity to get involved in a lot of things and be spread too thinly as a result is happening again. (As we said at one company where I worked, sarcastically, well - consistency is a good thing.) I need to get over to the falls and do more Peregrine sketches, but our just awful 'spring' weather continues - one of the top 5 or 6 most rainy springs since records began, and much cooler than usual. We have been getting down close to freezing every night, which in a normal year would have stopped more than a month ago. I pity the early nesting birds (we have a number of hummingbirds using our feeder and between the wet and the cold I suspect a lot of their nesting attempts will fail this year). Ah, but I'm digressing and whining...so on to productive activities...!

A fellow board member of mine who is a professor at a college in central WA told me about a class he's doing which made me extremely envious. He is a PhD ornithologist who apparently also does art (which I didn't know). Not every year, but this year and this term, he is teaching a double-credit course that combines art and ornithology. The nine hours per week of class time is split between ornithology lectures and art instruction, starting with the basics of drawing. The students keep two sketchbooks, one on basic academic sketches, and one on bird studies. They are given a list of 84 species that have to be sketched during the term and handed in at the end. They can draw just one aspect of each species, or the whole bird, or the bird in context, and the more they draw from life the more credit they get -although 'life' in this case includes study skins, of which the college apparently has a fairly large collection. I had the instructor send me a list of the species, and I am going to try to sketch them all on the same timeframe as the students. Unfortunately the college is about a hundred miles away, so auditing or attending the class is not feasible - however I've been invited to go along on their field trips if I would like...which of course I'm going to try to do.

So last night while relaxing in the recliner I grabbed a friend's photo of a Sage Thrasher and did a quick 10 x 8" drawing in graphite. This species is not on my side of the mountains (the wet side) as it is a dry open habitat species as the name implies. This is the time of year to see them because the males are out in the open on top of sage in their territories singing madly. After breeding season, this species becomes a skulker buried down in the sage and very tough to see.

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Old Friday 15th April 2011, 15:38   #368
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Sage Sparrow

Here is another sage-steppe habitat species, called appropriately enough the Sage Sparrow. This is a skulky, tough-to-find species most of the time except in breeding season when the males are up on top of their sagebrush territories singing away like this fellow. The head on breeding plumage males is bluish gray that is very striking despite the overall understated plumage - back feathers are variations of brown with a slightly grayed belly and breast. This is in a 10 x 8" sketchbook done in graphite.

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Old Friday 15th April 2011, 16:38   #369
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There's a real confidence to your approach now, John - excellent work.
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Old Friday 15th April 2011, 18:37   #370
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Particularly like the sage sparrow John. It's funny how sparrows can have a really subtle beauty. Outside of Song Sparrows though I don't know of a single sparrow that sits up and poses, at any time, at least not for me! Hope you get some good weather soon so we can see some field sketches.
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Old Friday 15th April 2011, 22:15   #371
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really like these last two - a confident line has emerged.
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Old Saturday 16th April 2011, 05:52   #372
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wow John, your sketching has really reached new heights!
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Old Sunday 17th April 2011, 00:35   #373
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love the two sweet little birds

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Old Saturday 30th April 2011, 20:43   #374
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really like these last two - a confident line has emerged.
I'll second that for sure!

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Old Friday 6th May 2011, 06:45   #375
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Peregrine Chick Sketch - pen and wash

Hi folks,

I've been busy...and absent from the forum for too much time. Need to get caught up on looking at everyone's work. Here is a quick sketch - not a very good one - of the one remaining Peregrine chick/eyass from this year's clutch of eggs at Snoqualmie Falls. This is, I believe, the first year that the pair has only gotten one chick to this stage. There were four eggs in the scrape this year, but we officially had the coldest April on record, and mostly likely one of the wettest as well. Apparently that took its toll. We think two of the eggs hatched, but only one of the hatchlings survived. This one, so far, is doing fine - and had a distended crop in the fuzzy reference shot from a friend that I drew this from. Having raised four young at least once, the parents should have little trouble providing enough food for this single youngster, so hopefully no mishap will prevent his/her fledging.

I did this in pen and wash, something I haven't tried much before but am dabbling with due to its portability (with a waterbrush) and an interest in pens.

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