Saturday, February 2, 2008

Juncoes and Ladybugs 1-30-08

Today I sketched some quick moving juncoes, a chickadee and cardinal that came by the feeder. Having a window feeder is great, you can really get a closer look at the small birds, especially when seed drops on the roof too. I noticed the juncoe males are a very dark, uniform slate grey. I always thought they were all this way, until seeing them this close, I realize now that the female has a lovely brown mixed in especially on it's back.
Oh yeah, the weather was just terrible that day, you can see on my notes.
Then, as I teach students in Nature Sketching classes, if you can't or don't want to go outside, there's always something to draw. I studied some lady bugs up close. If you take a look at things with a magnifying glass you'd be amazed at what you missed before!

I hope you enjoyed the sketches.


camulus said...

From your notes I can see that the weather has taken a turn for the worse where you are. I live in Northumberland England and in the last couple of days we are experiencing snow falls and gale force winds. It is certainly a time to keep the bird feeder well stocked with food for our little feathered friends. I had an email from someone living in Saint Louis who said that their temperatures started the day at 75 degrees and by its close were at 19 degrees, crazy or what!!

The Ladybirds have probably awoken and come into your bathroom for the warm moist air. They are one of my favourite insects and are well named as being the Gardeners friend for their appetite for Aphids. These nature notes would be a good basis for a field guide. It is amazing how much you see if you only choose to look carefully enough and how few of us actually do so.

Mary McAndrew said...

Thank you camulus for your generous comments! I'd love to know more about your area and it's wildlife, can you email me? I just got a couple books on the flowers of Ireland and England. I'll be visiting Ireland in the Fall...can't hardly wait!!! I'll be sketching up a storm, (and it won't be chilly like the winter storms we're talking about haha) I would love to visit England, so gorgeous!
ps. about the Ladybugs, they are always in my bathroom and because I respect how good they are, I don't know what to do to help them survive..are they supposed to be hibernating and can't because they're drawn to the warmth? I don't know.

camulus said...

Hello Mary, I have never visited Ireland but have been told the countryside is very beautiful especially on the west coast. Being warmed by the Gulf Stream the climate is generally temperate and damp giving the scenery that bright green colour befitting the name "Emerald Isle"

If you are visiting England I would certainly recommend that you come to Northumberland, it has a wild and unspoiled beauty which is quite untypical to many of the English countries. Steeped in history and rich in wildlife it is certainly worth a detour for the visitor to Britain whilst its scenery and skies have been the inspiration to many artists over the years. I will see what information I can email you this week.

On the matter of Ladybugs, I believe they wake from their hibernation in late March/early April but like many hibernating creatures they can awaken sooner if there are a couple of days of warm weather. I have had a Red Admiral butterfly fluttering about my kitchen in early February. It will not take them long to realise their mistake and retreat to a warmer place to return to their slumber which in many cases is a Greenhouse but could be a bathroom if the owner of the house likes languising in hot baths.