Killdeer sketches and photos: First Friday Art

Here are a few killdeer pencil sketches I did while watching them in the field.

Killdeer sketches

These shorebirds always let you know they are there with their distinctive kill-deer call. Here’s one calling near Sizzling Basin at Yellowstone National Park.

furry & feathered, killdeer at Yellowstone National Park

In the photo below, you can see a killdeer defending its nest from ornithologist Pepper Trail at Summer Lake, Oregon. I circled it to make it easier to see.

Killdeer defending nest

Killdeer pretend they’re injured and do a broken-wing display to lead predators away from their eggs. You can see in my killdeer sketches above how I was trying to capture this behavior.

Males and females do this display and both incubate the eggs. If the broken-wing display doesn’t work, these fearless birds will run directly at anyone too close to their nest.

Can you spot the single egg in the picture below? Yes, they are well-camouflaged!

Killdeer feigning injury

Do you have artwork you would like to share? Be sure to include the First Friday Art tag.

First Friday Art

Quit bugging me! : Wordless Wednesday

Quit bugging me

Quit bugging me! Song sparrow in bug hatch at Summer Lake, Oregon.

Wordless Wednesday

Zigzag boardwalk: 1-to-3 Photo Challenge

I took this photo near Playa at Summer Lake in Oregon. Playa serves as a retreat for artists and scientists looking for a peaceful place to do their work. I was there for a workshop on Great Basin Natural History. This zigzag boardwalk was in a pond behind the cabins.

I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I increased the contrast slightly. Slide the slider to see the before and after views.

The first two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Retro effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Retro Lab. This effect slightly blurs and darkens the edges and increases color saturation. I liked how this effect brought out turquoise colors in the sky and dark green in the marsh plants.

Zigzag boardwalkRetro photo effect

The next two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Black and White effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Black and White Film. I liked how this effect enhanced the contrast in the clouds.

Zigzag boardwalkZigzag boardwalk

The last two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Reverse Image effect. For this image I went to Image>Reverse Image. This effect made the whole scene eerie. The clouds are in warm tones and evil looking, while the plants are soft and pastel.

Zigzag boardwalkReverse image effect

There were a few benches on the zigzag boardwalk so you could pull up a seat and take in the gorgeous view. The clouds were very impressive on the day I took this picture. A storm was moving in.

One-to-Three Photo Processing Challenge October 2022

Pull Up a Seat Challenge

Avian sentry poem: WWP

Avian sentry blackbird

Avian sentry alert at daybreak
Perched on cattails near High Desert lake
Dangerous clouds move in
Surrounding him
Lightning flashes
Thunder crashes
Blackbird sounds alarm
Protecting marshes from harm

Yellow-headed Blackbird

Weekend Writing Prompt – Avian (29 Words)

Storm over Playa : 1-to-3 Photo Challenge

In early June, while participating in a Great Basin Natural History workshop, I took photos of the storm over Playa. Playa, located on the shores of Summer Lake, serves as a retreat for artists and scientists looking for a peaceful place to do their work. They also offer a limited number of workshops.

We had an unusually wet spring here in the High Desert. This photograph shows a big storm over Playa. I stayed in the two-story cabin pictured and had commanding views of the Basin and Range landscape. High winds were pushing dust storms into the air near the lake’s shore.

I’ll be showing how I processed this picture three ways with Corel PaintShop Pro 2021. Prior to trying out the various effects, I slightly increased the contrast and brightness.

The first two show the original photograph and the same picture with a Retro effect. For this image I went to Effects>Photo Effects>Retro Lab>Process 2. This effect slightly blurs and darkens the edges and increases color saturation. I thought this effect made the center appear brighter and gave the photo a vintage feel.

Storm over PlayaStorm over Playa
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Stick fence at Summer Lake: Wordless Wednesday

Stick fence at Summer Lake
Stick fence at Summer Lake
Rustic fencing
Stick fence at Summer Lake – closer view

Wordless Wednesday

Avocets in the Spring & Fall: BWPC

The Bird Weekly Photo Challenge this week is birds whose names start with an ‘a’. I’m sharing photos of American Avocets I took in the spring and fall.

I saw these two avocets in April during the Harney County Migratory Bird Festival. These flooded fields are north of Malheur National Wildlife Refuge, near Burns, Oregon.

The Migratory Bird Festival was cancelled this year so I had to look in my archives for these photos. One of my favorite field trips in past years was the Circling Steens Mountain Tour. Lots of opportunities to see birds of the shore, fields, and mountains.

Avocets near Burns, Oregon April 2019
Flooded fields south of Burns, Oregon April 2019

Avocets look much different in the fall. Their cinnamon-colored plumage fades to black and white.

I saw these avocets in November at Summer Lake Wildlife Area in Central Oregon. Can you see the dust storms in the distance? I have featured Summer Lake in several past posts. It’s a great place to see waterfowl, shorebirds, and songbirds.

Avocets near Summer Lake, Oregon November 2017
Summer Lake Wildlife Area, Oregon November 2017

Bird Weekly Photo Challenge (BWPC) – Birds starting with an ‘a’

California Quail near Winter Ridge: BOTD

California quail near Winter Ridge in Central Oregon. 30 March 2018.
California quail near Winter Ridge in Central Oregon. 30 March 2018.

This lone California Quail perched on a fence post near Winter Ridge and called loudly. Listen to the distinctive Chi-ca-go call of the California quail.

All About Birds describes this bird as “a handsome, round soccer ball of a bird with a rich gray breast, intricately scaled underparts, and a curious, forward-drooping head plume.” A great description of this bird!

I’m lucky that they are common where I live and sometimes even show up in my garden.

Granny Shot It – BOTD

River Ranch Barn – Seasoned by the Seasons: LAPC

River Ranch Barn 30March2018

The River Ranch Barn at Summer Lake Wildlife Area in eastern Oregon is weathered to perfection. Here are a few pictures of its exterior from a distance and close up. Winter Ridge rises majestically behind the barn.

River Ranch Barn roof 30March2018
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Twisted Swans: WPC

Twisting Trumpeters

Here’s a photo I took in March of three twisted swans at Summer Lake in Central Oregon. The northern shovelers surrounding them seem to be doing some contortions of their own. Can you find a raptor hiding in the background taking it all in?

Twisted Swans at Summer Lake, OR 29March2018

The three swans have bands on their necks. I saw them there last fall and turned in my sighting to find out where they came from. I found out the young birds were banded in the spring of 2017 at Summer Lake so they haven’t strayed far from where they hatched.

Twisted Swans at Summer Lake, OR 29March2018

This area hosts thousands of snow geese at certain times of the year. Summer Lake Wildlife Area is open to hunting so in order to avoid confusion, they have this sign posted for hunters. From a distance, snow geese and swans can be hard to tell apart.

Swan sign at Summer Lake, OR 1November2018

Do you want to learn more about trumpeter swans? See my post Swan Song to learn about the conservation success story associated with this beautiful bird.

Weekly Photo Challenge – Twisted

Have no fear, killdeer here: WPC

Every time I see a killdeer, it brings a smile to my face.

Killdeer at Summer Lake, Oregon 30March2018A bold bird

They are a bold little bird. Yes, you usually hear their distinctive kill-deer call long before you see them. Their black and white banded markings, and cinnamon-colored rump and tail feathers, make it hard to mistake them for something else.

Their bold personality is another thing I admire about them. They are a small bird, but they are fearless if you are near their nest. They assume anyone nearby is a potential predator. Killdeer bob up and down and call if you get close. If that doesn’t discourage you, they’ll drag a wing, feigning injury. The birds flap their wings on the ground while leading you on a wandering path away from the nest. Courage in the face of adversity.

Nest and young

The nest is a scrape in the ground containing three to five speckled eggs. It’s easy to overlook so watch your step if you hear an adult nearby in the spring or summer months. The young birds are covered in down and ready to run right after they hatch. They are one of the cuter birds I have seen in the wild. Watch this short video to see a chick with a vocal adult.

Killdeer baby finds Mom

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