Posts Tagged ‘bird’

After delivering some of my artworks to an exhibit in La Grange,  (more on that in a future post) I stopped by the Falls for a quick look-see.  It was an absolutely gorgeous day and I decided to take a quick walk along the Woodland Trail to see if any of the spring migratory birds were in the area.  I was amazed to see the sizes of some of the trees that washed into the park during the last high water.  From my vantage point, I could see several “nice” pieces of Styrofoam that were also stranded by the retreating river.  I made mental notes to myself to come back to those areas when I had more time.  Images of future sculptures came to mind.

People were taking advantage of the lovely spring day and were ever-present in the park.  I noticed many fishermen lining the banks although I can’t say that I observed anyone catching anything yet.  Walking along the Woodland Trail I did see several species of birds including a Yellow-bellied Sapsucker working a Sweet Gum tree.  To me, this woodpecker is a harbinger of spring.  Bird watching was a little frustrating today because there just were so many people everywhere that the birds were a bit jumpy.  Further down the trail I did see something new I hadn’t recorded before and it has the nickname of “the Redbud Bird” and I would later learn why.  At first appearance, it’s a bird that isn’t especially memorable.  It’s a bit clumsy looking and not a particularly good singer.

The Redbud Bird was working a section of the park bordered by a creek.  This area had many downed trees of significant size that this bird was exploring.  I observed it tilting its head from side to side as though it was carefully listening for something.  I found several more specimens of this species taking advantage of the ecological niches that the park has to offer.

Wherever I saw one of these birds…it would be turning its head from side to side and every once in a while would slowly flap its wings.  The day was a warm one and I wondered if this was a method the bird used to stay cool?

I followed one bird from the woods into the Interpretive Center’s parking lot.  This proved easy to do because this bird is also a fairly weak flyer compared to the other birds I had come across.  It would move ahead of me and seemingly waited for me to catch up.  I felt as though it was leading me someplace.  This bird did this several times until I finally understood how this species received its name.

I followed the bird to the front of the Interpretive Center where our bird began to display in a most gloriously blooming Redbud Tree.  This bird times its appearance in our area to the blossoming of this tree.  What this bird lacks in physical charisma it compensates for by immersing itself in the beauty of this tree within site of the river.  After watching it bounce from one blooming limb to another it flew off leaving me with this view.

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Micro Styro-bird, 7/09

The hard hot days of summer are just around the corner, but for now the living is easy.  This time last year the water level at the Falls was low enough that you could safely wade across the river to explore the Kentucky fossil beds.  For now, I will have to be patient and wait for the river to drop some more.  Sometimes when I visit the park I don’t have the luxury of being on site all day.  On those days when I know I only have a couple of hours to make something, I get down to serious play and challenge myself to work quickly.  That’s what happened on this day.  I made this tiny bird from found materials and photographed it near my outdoor studio under the willow trees.  I don’t carve or alter the Styrofoam pieces to any great degree.  I still feel like the shapes the river gives me are important as is.  I certainly could alter these forms more, but this is a collaboration between the river and me and I don’t want to impose my will on these materials any more than I have to.  I accept the abstraction and openness.  The results are perhaps hit and miss, but when it works if feels natural and full of spirit.

Studio site, 7/09

Here’s another view of my temporary studio with materials.  I have lots of found and river-polished Styrofoam on hand as well as curving, gesture-filled sticks to use for limbs.  A couple of recent figures watch over things for me.  Each time I return here I wonder what I will find?  Will it be as I left it or will it be disturbed?

some one else's sand drawing, 7/09

I found this sand drawing made by a park visitor near my studio spot.  For me, this works as a definition of what a drawing is… that is a mark made upon a surface with some intention behind it.  It doesn’t get more basic than this as an example of eye, hand, brain coordination.

Horse nettle flowering, 7/09

Came across this patch of Horse nettles and thought the flowers were beautiful and delicate.  The thorns are a warning that this plant can hurt you and in more ways than one.  Later, the pollinated flowers will become yellow berries that are very poisonous.

Viceroy butterfly, 7/09

Saw the first Viceroy butterfly of the season.  I associate this butterfly with the Falls more than any other.  Although it looks like a Monarch, the horizontal line crossing over the vertical ones on the hind wings give it away.

Styro Microbird, 7/09

This is how I left the Microbird with its legs held fast in the cracks of this shattered tree limb.  The weekend is coming and I’m looking forward to my next adventure on the river.

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yellow-bellied sapsucker, male

Working at the Falls of the Ohio, I think of what I do as an experiment in relational thinking.  And so, when I can I try to include the animals and their images whenever possible.  I especially enjoy birds and look forward to spring when the migratory species return.  Even though I don’t have the best camera for this…I do enjoy photographing the species I encounter.  Like many other birders I also keep a list of the species I see or hear in the park.  The above image is of a male, yellow-bellied sapsucker about to feed from holes it drilled into a sweet gum tree.

Styrobird with real beak

 Here’s the latest of many Styrobirds I’ve made.  Created from found blue insulation foam, plastic, wood, coal, and bone gathered on that day’s walk.

eastern towhee, male

Scratching and hopping through last year’s leaves, I came across this male, eastern towhee looking for a meal.  His eyes are a blood-red in color.

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