|Solitary Sandpiper with Wood Duck and Ducklings. Watercolor Sketch by Ken Januski.|
As we got ready to leave the wetlands of Morris Arboretum yesterday I saw a flurry of activity on the mudflats at the other end of the pond. Had a new flock of peeps arrived? We'd seen three Least and one Semi-palmated Sandpipers earlier but there were far more than four in this group.
They surely were shorebirds as they were hunched over in a typical shorebird feeding position. But when I put the scope on them I found one Solitary Sandpiper, the large bird in lower right in watercolor sketch above, and many small birds. Not sandpipers though, Wood Duck ducklings. Then in the far back I noticed Mama Wood Duck. I've put her a bit closer in the version above.
I love coming across these odd juxtapositions. It is one of the pleasures afforded by birding when your interest is more than just checking birds off a list.
As is typical with so many of my watercolor sketches this is done in a Stillman and Birn Gamma sketchbook. It is tough enough to hold a few washes, yet not so expensive or valuable as to make it an inhibiting surface, where you're afraid to put down the first mark for fear of making a mistake and ruining good paper. I've found it perfect for this type of exploratory sketch.
This is based on a couple of photos from yesterday and took about 60 minutes to complete. Any more time or work probably would have ruined the paper and the work.