Saturday, June 24, 2023

June is "Dickcissel Month"...Just Say'n


(color pencil drawing - ©Bruce A. Morrison)

I got an idea last summer, reveling in all the Dickcissels living along our road and pastures. Nothing deep or serious mind you...and selfishly - something just for my own fun. I have to keep reminding myself - if you aren't having fun, then knock off what your doing and get to is too short! 
I don't exactly recall why or how I came to this idea? Maybe it was all the perseverance these birds were being educated to each day - forming and raising families...staking their territorial claims and announcing that every day...all day long. Its really quite something to see and hear throughout the summer months.
I decided to just have fun and dedicate this artwork to them...all the graduates of Prairie Hill Farm - Class of '22. They wouldn't all pose for their class pictures but I got a few of them...mostly the guys of course, but a couple girls showed up as well.
Making this reminiscent of an old country school class composite did present some issues for me.  Color pencil is not a good tool for lettering nor graphics...I almost gave up the silly idea half way through, even before getting to the birds. I should've farmed that part off to someone who is actually "Good" at lettering and our Daughter-in-Law Amy, she's a "Natural" at design and lettering - just look around our house!
The birds were fun - as was the central image representing their "school grounds"...putting everyone in a oval was "not" fun...not an easy shape constraint for my tired eyes and hands.
But here's to the "Prairie Hill Farm Summer Academy - Dickcissel Class of '22" - of whom many graduates returned this year and every year, to school their young and bring them up to be proud little Dickie Birds (as someone once called them)!!!
(color pencil drawing - ©Bruce A. Morrison)
I decided to declare June as "Dickcissel Month", in honor of these little birds and the memory they leave behind after they head south at summer's end.   I still have a glimmer of a seed to sprout a more serious Dickcissel piece someday...maybe a painting, who knows?
But I still remind myself not to take things too seriously, and have fun in the moment!
Be good to one another out there - we truly need each other.

Thursday, June 15, 2023

Mid June...Not Bad!



Things come on fast once the weather turns hot and even more so if the rain actually starts.  We aren't out of the drought "woods" yet but it has improved from the past 3 years...very grateful for that!

The Dickcissels are back this June and are a happy lot once again - I swear we have one every 50 feet down the road and several in the pastures as well...its great!  They are even nesting in the pasture here - very fun!


And the Bobolinks did show up in the pasture across the road...occasionally they'll chase one another across the road to our place so we can get some enjoyment out of their company!  It was a special time when they nested on our place and when we'd see them up the county blacktops and highway pastures as well, but, again...I am grateful for what we still have.

The spring prairie flowers are happy with our rain too, and the heat is moving them along faster than I can keep up...every time I find something new blooming, its finished before I know!!!
One evening I was down in the SE corner of the north pasture shooting the While Wild Indigos and just as I started walking away a beautiful female Ruby-throated Hummingbird was suddenly right in front of me - feeding on the White Wild Indigos!   The light was subsiding as it was mid evening, but I had the camera on the tripod already and managed some nice photos of her - really fun!

 We are always fortunate to have Meadowlarks in our neighborhood.  I do have difficulty telling "Eastern" from "Western" - UNLESS they sing...Western Meadowlarks are so much more vocal and melodious than Eastern's are...and we get Westerns here quite often each summer.  
One day a week or so back I was in the studio working and heard a beautiful Western Meadowlark belting it out, and it sounded so loud I thought it must be on the barn roof.  I stepped out the door and it was right in front of me on the grass across the driveway...maybe 20 feet away!  We've never had a "Lawn" Lark before!!!  Crazy neat!  I stepped back in and grabbed the camera only to see a Robin dive bomb it...maybe it was stealing his thunder?  But it flit just another 20 feet or more toward the crib so I walked over by the barn's corner and took a few pictures of it in the fresh mowed grass.  I watched it pull a worm up and it commenced to beating it into submission...maybe that's why the Robin didn't want it around - encroaching on its food supply?!
It sang in the yard for another day or two but is now back to it's normal perches around the pasture and down along the road.

Another fun change this year has been the Eastern Kingbirds.  We always see them down along the road...flitting from fence wire to fence post to electrical wire and back.  This year they have taken up residence in the yard!  During noon time Georgie and I would be sitting at the kitchen table having lunch and we watch the Kingbirds flycathing right outside the kitchen windows!  We noticed the favored perches the birds would use to dart out and catch bugs on the wing.  One spot was an old Common Mullein stalk from last year...made a great perch for them.
I decided this would be the perfect opportunity to get some closer shots of these guys...I set up the tripod out side and set the camera on it with a electric remote transmitter/trigger.  While I sat eating lunch that day I was holding the trigger in one hand and eating with the, click, click - "Wow that was a good one!"  
Went through quite a few shots and missed quite a few too, but very happy with the birds!

The days are moving quickly now, even though there's more daylight time - it's still packed with chores and work...inside and out.

I hope you have a good summer ahead good to one another!