Sketching Under the Oaks and Woodpecker Sightings at Santee Coastal Reserve WMA Feb 2014

The recent "polar vortex"and ice storm caused downed trees and limbs among the habitats at Santee Coastal Reserve WMA. The staff has been busy restoring the wildlife management area (WMA) to it's pre-storm condition.

"Smoke, Light and Shadows"
charcoal/pastel on paper

My drawing today, depicts burning debris in a clearing near an avenue of live oaks. The lengthening rays of the setting sun cause interesting patterns of light and shadow through the smoke…

A Pileated Woodpecker landed on a branch above me
while I sketched
at Santee Coastal Reserve WMA
As I sketched, a large pileated woodpecker landed on a low hanging branch over my head. Suddenly bark chips rained down on me from the bird's energetic efforts to dislodge insects from the branch. In full battle mode, I withstood the flying debris to aim my camera skyward and take reference photos of the moment. 

The sight of a male Downy Woodpecker landing nearby searching for food
made my afternoon painting at Santee Coastal even more memorable
A few minutes later, a soft chirping alerted me to the presence of another woodpecker nearby - a male Downy Woodpecker had flown to the tree directly behind my sketching spot. This smaller bird was a bit more wary of my presence, but still provided a few nice photos of his evening's activity looking for food. Both bird encounters have provided inspiration for future paintings.

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