Turquoise. Ultramarine. Indigo. Lazuli. Those are some of my favorite colors. Also names for birds- notably, two species of buntings currently here at Casa Motmot, scarfing down my birdseed and decorating the hardscape with their lovely blueness. We seem to be having a lazuli bunting irruption but why they are congregating at my house is up for speculation. I do have a theory- more on that later but it has something to do with lawn furniture.
Tomorrow I’m flying out to Panama for a little over two weeks, a trip with the purpose of walking into the rainforest and coming out with a quantity of biggish (18″x24″) mixed media drawings, primarily of trees, vines, foliage, leaf litter, flowers, bromelliads- the whole nine jungle yards. One suitcase is a rolling art studio: drawing board, folios, sheaves of paper, a new wooden field easel, pastels packed tight in foam-lined ziplock containers, watercolor kit and brushes, a clamp-on daylight lamp for indoor work…even a light tarp to hang overhead in case of sudden rainstorms. And LOTS of pencils.
With this bunting influx I almost hate to leave. There’s getting to be quite a flock. The males (9 of them as of yesterday) have begun singing to the females (4 at least). Is breeding possible in these parts? Lazuli buntings are very unusual around Central Oklahoma. They are more of a western bird, and a scarce spring migrant, nearly rare. They are joining the indigos and painteds, our usual bunch who breed here. The male indigos seem unnerved by the lazulis and are staying clear of them. The females seem to be more intrigued.
The painted buntings don’t seem to care one way or another and eat alongside the interlopers. The painted buntings will happily use the hanging bird feeder, whereas the lazulis prefer the ground, and seem easily spooked. The painteds seem comfortable with human activity. I’m watching from the window, and they are keeping an eye on me. If I move, the LBs fly.
The only indigo showing up for this bunting bonanza is an odd-looking bird, and it shows some hybrid characteristics. The flanks are washed whitish, the entire lower belly is pure white, the lesser wing coverts are tipped with white, and there’s a rusty band across the lower chest. I don’t know enough about it to call the identification, so I’ve forwarded some photos along for the experts to decide on. And I post them here, too. What do you think?
Tomorrow I’ll be jetting off to the tropics, so it’s nice to have this nice little neotropic preview. Isn’t blue the coolest color of all?