"There is no excellent beauty that hath not some strangeness in the proportion" Francis Bacon 1561-1626


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Saturday, 30 January 2010

Signs of Spring: American Robins

I have been tidying up my work room today and found some sketches that I made last week.  I had been to Leu and sketched these birds, then had got sidetracked by bee stuff and forgot all about them. Also I had no idea what they were. 

It was a nice sunny day after all the cold weather and I heard the birds before I saw them. Flocks, of what seemed like hundreds, were wheeling round and round, screeching and chattering, something that I haven’t seen here at the Gardens before. The action appeared to be centered around the huge camphor trees which line one of the walkways and as I came closer I could see the birds were busy eating the little black berries. They then flew off to the nearby path to drink from a puddle of water and then rushed back to the tree again for more berries.

You can hardly see the Robin sitting on the branch, but you can see all the camphor berries!

bird in treesm

The ones on the ground were quite distracted while drinking so I was able to do a few sketches and could see they had reddish breasts and a white ring around the eye…

bird sketchessm jpg

I know that my USA readers will probably be aghast at my ignorance, but please don’t forget that I am a Brit, so the word “Robin” to me means a little chirpy little bird  that comes and  sits on your wheel barrow in the garden. These American Robins are big! and I now know they are members of the Thrush family  

Gathering for migration

But what is most interesting to me is that I realise now I was probably seeing these nice little birds getting ready for a northerly migration, stocking up and getting fit and fat, although some do seem to stay in their own neigbourhood over the winter. While I was researching I found this website: American Robin,Journey North where you can track the Robins’ journey north and participate in recording their progress. 

So, three little Heralds of Spring especially for my northerly, ice and snow bound, blog readers. I want you to know that the Florida Robins are looking well and will soon be on their way!!

am robins sm


Unknown said...

I haven't seen any robins this winter (we have a few overwinter in the woods every year). But with the owl having put in an appearance, I haven't seen many songbirds the past day or so, except up close to the house feeders. Today we're being stormed upon so the birds are all in the woods sheltering. Wish that worked for us, too.

Anna Flowergardengirl™ said...

It's a chirpy bird to me too ;) and you make it even more so.

Amy said...

I enjoyed your post and your bird sketches. Love the three little Heralds of Spring! I would love to be able to sit down and draw something like that... :)

John said...

Please let little Robin Red Breast know that there will be fields full of nice, juicy worms to feed their babes, and that's it's okay to build a new nest under the deck again this year.

Dan said...

Yes, apart from the red breast, these don't look much like the UK robin. It's a lovely watercolour, and I love the preliminary sketches too. It's the RSPB's Big Garden Birdwatch this weekend in the UK, so a very apt post!
Best wishes

Meems said...

I've really enjoyed watching (and hearing especially) the American Robin activity the past few weeks. They seem to have a daily pattern of making their way around our neighborhood to the available camphor trees. I'm so happy I have two huge berry filled trees for them to flock to. They made quick order out of the American Beautyberry as well. Love your sketches... I could barely get a photograph until the berries fell to the ground and the Robins followed them.

Adrian Thysse said...

Nice to see our little friends staying warm down south. It will be a few months before we see our first Robin up here in Edmonton.

Shady Gardener said...

What a nice post. And, yes... thanks for reminding me that you are indeed a "Brit." ;-)

Those Florida robins may be preparing to fly north, but almost every year they arrive here too early and it makes me worry! Hopefully they wait a long while this Winter. We seem to be getting plenty of ice, snow, and Very Cold temps!

I love that you seem to always have a sketch book handy. I want to be more like you! :-)

Jean Campbell said...

They were here a few weeks back, feasting on juniper berries.

Love your sketches.

sharp green pencil said...

Thank you all so much ..I can see the robins have struck a chord. I hope I get to see them again, especially now I know what they are!
I wish I could send you snow bound northern friends some Florida sunshine but its cold and grey here today.

Gabrielle said...

I can't wait to see the robins back! Thanks for the preview of Spring (still a good few months off yet).

The British blackbird reminds me of the American robin, but neither compares to the wonderful British robin. I adore British robins. Such personable birds!

sharp green pencil said...

HI there Gabrielle, yes the Uk robins are very sweet and no one has yet explained to me why they are so "tame". But I was delighted to see these American Robins too. Hope spring gets too you in the not too distant future!