Wild turkey- Benson House, Harvard Forest, 5/11/08. Watercolor on Canson drawing paper, 111lb. Drawn and painted through a scope.
I thought this might be appropriate- a very maternal wild turkey on a nest, right outside the house. She decided we could provide a good foundation for her family, literally. The nest is on the ground right next to the wall, with arching raspberry canes and a discarded roll of hog-pen wire over it. I discovered it when I stepped out back to look at some warblers and inadvertently got a little too close. With a hiss, the turkey vacated and stalked off to the woods, possibly to lure me away from her clutch of big, buffy-tan and speckled eggs. An even dozen.
I’ve been drawing in the woods for the last few days, hauling clunky gear with me- a big wooden easel, a large drawing board, portfolio of papers, shoulder bag and backpack. Lots of junk. I think she’s gotten used to me walking back and forth past her nest and has learned to sit tight. I try not to look directly at her. She’s relaxed a bit. I’m harmless.
Today I decided to draw and paint her alongside the house where she could keep her eye on me. I went a comfortable distance away and set up my camp stool and a scope (borrowed, thanks Barry!) and waited until she’d stopped looking tense. That’s when I began looking through the glass, sketchbook on my lap, pencil in hand, followed by a brush. Eventually she looked bored and sleepy, but she never took her eyes off me. She’s a good mom.
Yellow rumped female warbler gathering nesting material from a turkey’s nest. Watercolor on Canson drawing paper. Drawn through binoculars. 5/11/08
Another good mother in the neighborhood is a yellow-rumped (myrtle) warbler, who has been gathering stray feathers a few feet away from the turkey nest where the wind has carried them. She’s flying back and forth from the raspberry patch to the woods, feathering her nest with genuine turkey down. There’s a lot of serious activity going on around here in that department, lots of mothers-to-be, babies soon to follow (can’t wait!). It’s funny to see a hawk carrying sticks in her feet, or a hummingbird with puffs of spider web in her slender bill. They’re just great mothers. Happy Day, all you moms out there!