Sunday, May 23, 2010
Although I see dark-eyed juncos of the Oregon race frequently I haven't done any sketches of them before, because they tend to dart away as soon as I point my binoculars in their direction. Today, though, as I sat on the dusty shores of Pond B at Foothill Regional Park in Windsor, CA, I was pleasantly surprised to find one bathing nearby. She bathed once, left, then came back and bathed some more. Her bathing style was fairly sedate. The California towhees that use our birdbath at home bathe with complete abandon and much flapping and splashing. This junco got in the water, jiggled about a few times, sat there quietly then left. When she was done she went off into some nearby grasses and preened then rested. Without binoculars it was impossible to spot her but, hey, she was holding still! She stayed put until someone walked on a trail about a foot from where she rested and then flew off into some manzanita nearby.
I didn't add color to these sketches until I got home. Once I started painting I thought I would consult David Sibley's Guide to Birds to make sure I got the colors right. Which led to me getting the color wrong because the juncos I've been seeing have so little of the rusty brown on their flanks that it's almost invisible. Note to self: trust your own memory and just hold off on the painting until you can go back and confirm what you thought you saw or didn't see.