More Field Sketching Practise

It’s been pretty horrible weather here in the UK for the last few weeks so my sketching practise has been confined to webcams. The Cornell Lab FeederWatch cams are great – especially the Sapsucker Woods one in Ithaca, where I was thrilled to see a Blue Jay and Mourning Doves. I drew lots of Redpolls and American Crows from the Ontario FeederWatch cam – I have a Birds of North America field guide that I bought from a second-hand bookstore in Chicago which has proven useful! I have done lots of scribbly sketches, some while on pause, some while the livestream is running.

I am running a Field Sketching Workshop with South Downs Wildlife on 15th May and I am excited to show people how enjoyable it is to sketch birds. That’s happening at West Rise Marsh, so I have been using the Rye Harbour webcams to practise drawing ducks. Here are some Wigeon:

Have you watched any webcams from other parts of the world? I am hoping to catch up with some Peregrines, Ospreys, and other birds of prey now the breeding season is getting underway as I’m not terribly proficient, and their beak/eye proportions are so important to get accurate. Webcams encourage a lot of passive observation and I think this is really helpful in anchoring certain body shapes and gives a proper feel of the bird which is far better than using photos; even when paused, a live video gives angles and stances that are natural and authentic and add real character to sketches that can’t be captured by a gorgeous portrait photo – beautiful as those may be.

In other news, the Blue Tits are checking out the nest box in my beech tree, and I have seen both a female Blackbird and a Dunnock flying around with nesting material. My neighbour has 3 cats so I am really hoping the birds manage to find a safe place to rear their young. I have a housecat who does enjoy pouncing at the window feeders, but I have 2 of those now and the birds seem to have learned that there is a choice!

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