While I get a thrill out of seeing the brightly coloured bird varieties, it's sometimes the less conspicuous birds that make the most impact. For instance, I feel a special affinity for wrens - tiny brown birds often best identified by their jaunty tail carriage - and they have become a reoccurring subject for my art.
|Drawing of a fledgling Winter Wren.|
|"Wren and Salmonberry" coloured pencil drawing.|
|"Bird on a Wire: Marsh Wren" |
coloured pencil drawing.
I recently spent a couple of days at a rustic cottage on the rugged north coast of Trinidad, enjoying the peaceful combination of crashing surf and towering hills cloaked in tropical rainforest. Bird life was abundant with several types of colourful hummingbirds and tanagers along with numerous other tropical species. However, I was most delighted to find a pair of resident Southern House Wrens living in the clearing around the cottage. Each morning they'd rise and greet the day with a burst of song from a perch among the bougainvillea blossoms.
From time to time throughout the day their song could be heard and the small vocalists observed perched in various favourite locations - perhaps the veranda railing, or a light post, or a branch of a shrub. Later on another prolonged serenade would take place as the afternoon drew to a close and the early nightfall of this latitude set in.
Captivated as I was by these little songsters, they found their way into my sketchbook:
Of course I also enjoyed the other interesting birds in the area, such as a flock of Smooth-billed Anis who came to the cottage grounds one morning to gather plump, green grasshoppers for their breakfast. Their prehistoric looking faces made me think about the linkages between birds and their dinosaur ancestors!
|A Smooth-billed Ani munching on a large grasshopper.|
But it's the little brown wrens and their vibrant song I'll remember best from my stay at the cottage. Soon I'll carry that memory home to Canada where the spring song of their more northerly cousins will be only a few weeks away.