My Sketchbook in February 2019

February was another month where I focused on drawing birds, there’s not much happening here aside from that and the last breaths of winter. We ventured out for a few small trips however, one of them to the Hoher Meißner region south of where we live, and this was a very inspiring day for me.

Let’s take a look:

The sparrows are quite active in the garden and it’s always a joy hearing them chitter and rant at each other. They always fly around in little groups of 8-15 birds.
Sometimes a lone nuthatch turns up and hops around the trees. The posture and shape of these birds is so characteristic, and I love the contrast of their grey-blue back and wings and the orange belly.

Another species that frequently visits are blackbirds. One of them often sits on the roof and sings its evening song.

Even more bird studies, this time a coal tit (a species that I haven’t seen here before but want to study for my bird project) and a robin. I saw one real up close the other day, in the city these small birds really are not shy at all and come close up to a meter.

Our hiking trip near the Meißner, a small highland area south of Kassel. A beautiful day with frozen lakes, the first willow blooms, and an underground coal fire! We couldn’t see it, but there was a sulfurous smell in the air. The area is a former lignite mining site, and has since been turned into a nature preserve, and a part of that brown coal smolders with the continuous stream of air it gets from the surface. A very interesting place and it was a joy marching over icy, slippery paths and seeing the last bits of winter and the first signs of spring so close together. Also it was a great place for me because it felt similar to the Harz (the small mountain range where I grew up).

Returning to my bird studies, this time I took a look at the bullfinch (Pyrrhula pyrrhula). One of its German names is „Dompfaff“ which puts it aptly into the vicinity of catholic churchmen. Look at this intense red and the little black cap.

A page of quick studies on days when I don’t take my watercolors with me. These quick gestural sketches are a great practice for drawing birds in the field. The sparrows have begun collecting little twigs for nesting and they’re even more hectic than before (left).
A starling sits on the chestnut tree every morning, and sometimes in the evening. He still has his white spots and looks shiny and metallic in the sun. His pause only lasted for a short time, and soon his perching place was taken by a magpie, another black-and-white bird (right).

I spent the rest of the month with preparing a workshop (more on that soon!) and being sick. But I’m feeling better already.
I hope you enjoyed this tour through my nature journal in February!

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