Wednesday, June 20, 2012

Last Day of Spring

Officially summer starts this evening around 7:30 p.m. the time of the summer solstice when the tilt of the earth puts the sun at its most northern point in the sky, after today the period of sunlight will start getting less, though for us here in the northern Hemisphere summer has just begun. That said today is going to be a hot one here in the Northeast with temps well into the 90's. I am not looking forward to it.

Sorry for the lack of a second update last week. I am drawing, just not a lot, for the first time in several years I just didn't feel like pushing myself to draw so I would have something to post. Still I have been working on the Nature Journal and with these 2 spreads I have finished the book I was working in, on Monday I actually started in a new book. It feels good to have finished a Journal. It has taken me almost a year to fill the pages with notes and drawings as I started keeping it last August. I have to say I am very pleased with how it has come out, and I really enjoy looking back at past entries and comments.

The above spread is from my visit to Daniel Webster a week ago Monday. That day I split my afternoon between the North River Sanctuary and Daniel Webster, both in Marshfield, MA. The bottom image is of Partridge-berry flowers I found at North River. I drew their berry/seed last fall, but was able to photograph some blooms on Monday. This is a ground cover found in wooded areas here in the Northeast, the flowers are small only about a 1/2 inch in length so they were a bit tricky to photograph. The two flowers will produce a single joined berry, which is a bit unusual.

The top image is of a female wood duck who is stretching her wings after having a bath in the pond. She was really too far away from me for me to make a good photograph, But it has been fun for me to watch them with the glasses out in the middle area of the pond. As far as I can tell they have 2 surviving young, which I see occasionally.

The above spread which is the last one in the Journal is from my visit down to Attleboro over the weekend. I visited two locations, Attleboro Springs and Oak Knoll both MA Audubon sanctuaries. The top image is of a Sycamore leaf. The tree is found at Oak Knoll along the edge of the parking area. At first glace these leaves look like a Maple leaf, but the trunk of the tree is so entirely different looking that I knew it wasn't any kind of Maple.

My bottom image is of a garter snake that I came across at Attleboro Springs in the woods. I was actually looking at the star flower plant which is shown to the left of the snake, they are growing their seed pods and I was thinking of photographing it when I realize the snake was there. For once the snake didn't dash off but allowed me to make several pictures. Not a huge snake, but not a small one either, I would say over 2 feet long and probably about an inch in dia. It was quite pretty with a sort of checkerboard pattern on its scales.

I actually don't usually see snakes on my walks. In all the years I have been walking I think I could count on one hand the number of snakes I have seen, and then what I see is mostly tail as they vanish into the undergrowth. I know they are there, I just don't see them, or perhaps I should say more accurately notice them.

Above is my figure drawing from Monday Night's session. Some parts I am happy with but others ah well, thankfully there is always next week.

Above is one of the several varieties of Skipper Butterfly that can be found here in MA. On my walk at North River I saw a lot of these little guys mostly on clover blossoms like this one. This photograph gives you a good view of the wings and head, not sure it would be good for identifying the exact species as I gather the differences are somewhat subtle for some of them and related to feet and other more obscure details. For me it is enough to know it is an orange colored Skipper.

The photograph above was made at Daniel Webster at the Panne (pond). This is a grackle in flight from the rock you see in the photograph. I thought it was kind of cool, and not my usual photograph.

The above image is a close up photograph of Squaw Root, a parasitic plant that can be found in the woods here in the northeast. I saw this at the Attleboro Springs Sanctuary. This particular plant is found in associated with oak trees. Looks sort of like an odd kind of pine cone, and is only about 4 to 6 inches tall.

That is it for today. Hope everyone is staying cool, well as cool as possible, and per usual comments are always welcome.