Friday, October 14, 2011

Mushrooms update, Journal Pages and owls

Above is an updated scan on my mushroom drawing. I have put more work into the mushrooms and started doing some of the background/foreground fill. So far I am enjoying this and am fairly pleased with how it is coming along. I am not going for hyper-photo realistic but do want them to look like mushrooms growing under a tree.

Below are a couple more pages from my Nature Journal:

Last Saturday I went up to visit the Blue Hills Reservation starting at Trailside Museum where the animal exhibits and bird feeders are. To my surprise they were having an open house event. One of the on site naturalists brought out a couple of owls to show the visitors. I took advantage of not having any cage bars between me and the birds to make some photographs. So the drawing above of a Barn Owl is a result.

The other drawing on the page is of a stem of one of the pine trees growing in the exhibit area along with its pine cone. The trees (there are several) are Eastern Hemlocks. I feel sure that they were planted, my local woods mostly have White Pines as the naturally occurring pines, but I suppose it is possible I am wrong. These are quite large, therefore old trees, so I am fairly sure no one probably knows how they got there.

The pages below were from my Sunday visit to D.W. Field Park here in Brockton.

Not very exciting illustrations I fear. I did have another leaf but managed to loose it, besides I am not sure the species of tree it came from (I have a photo of its' bark) so I will try some other day.

The top leaf is from a Sassafras tree and had turned a lovely red. This is the 2nd Sassafras leaf I have drawn the first having the more identifiable 3 lobed shape. But Sassafras leaves have 3 different shapes, and this is one of the alternates.

The bottom sketch is of a Swamp Milkweed with pods. Somehow I don't notice the plants when they are in bloom but the pods always seem to catch my attention. So I have no photos of the plants in bloom and to be honest I am not sure what the flowers look like. The seed pods are much narrower than the more common milkweeds and smooth. I find these plants around the ponds in the park.

Below are a couple of the Owl photographs I made last Saturday.

Barred Owl

The owl above is a Barred Owl, one of our Native MA owls (we have quite a few). By the time I realized a naturalist had one of the owls out on display the bird was getting tired so I don't have a lot of photographs of this one. A hansom bird though isn't it? The naturalist took this one back to its cage and was going to bring out a Great Horned owl (a young female) but she wasn't feeling happy about being out of her cage so the naturalist decided to leave her be and brought out a Barn owl instead.

I made quite a few photos of the Barn owl, I used one as reference for my Journal sketch above, below is another:

Barn Owl

This is the back view of the owl. I am showing this one because of the beautiful colors of its feathers. I was told that barn owls show a fairly wide variety of coloration differences between birds. This one has a white chest, but there are some with brown on their chests.

I want to make a few comments here, Owls do NOT make good pets. The barn owl above was taken as a young bird by a family who though they could make a pet out of it, only to realize later that it just wasn't possible and that the bird was more work then they wanted to deal with on an ongoing basis. The result is a beautiful healthy bird that can never be released to the wild, partly because it isn't afraid of people but mainly because it doesn't know how to hunt and kill its own food. Being released to the wild would be a death sentence for it. At least it is being used to educate children about wild owls, but it isn't the life it should have had.

Owls really aren't very smart, anyone who wants a smart bird for a pet should buy a parrot (and try to make sure it wasn't a wild caught bird, but bred for the market) Also realize ahead of time that birds require a lot of attention, and are a great deal of work, at least a Parrot won't want a couple of mice everyday for dinner.

There is lot of young adult, or even adult fiction out there that makes the raptors (including owls) out to be smart birds that bond with their owners, in real life they don't/can't. They really aren't smart enough. Falcons have been kept for hunting for thousands of years, but they aren't pets. Not to mention that it is illegal to own one of these birds unless you have a license. Sorry for the long rant, but it really annoys me when people think they can take wild animals and make pets of them.

That is it for today, comments per usual are welcome.