Pelicans, egrets and osprey: sketching the birds of SanibelPosted: January 2, 2019
Today’s long bike excursion was to the J.N. “Ding” Darling National Wildlife Refuge. It’s a repeat of something we did last year, except this time with sketchbook in hand (or in my bike basket).
The website says that at different times of the year there are up to 275 different types of birds, but of course we only saw the more common ones like the pelicans, egrets and herons as we rode the 4-mile path. With the help of a docent we also had the privilege of looking through a high-powered lens to see a roseate spoonbill and a yellow crowned night heron.
I knew it might be hard to paint along the way so I drew the birds on site, and painted them when I returned home. These are the ones that were quite close to the path — the egrets in a marsh by the side of the road and the osprey in a nest above us.
Sketching the page was so much fun that I decided to make it into a double-page spread, so I walked around our condo and saw a group of ibis feeding on the grass, a pelican near the water and my friend the little blue heron.
On site, I also did a pencil drawing of a bigger scene of great white pelicans out on a marsh, and painted that one when I got home. Saving the whites is hard in a scene like this so I used Titanium White watercolour when the water washes were dry.