Sunday, May 4, 2014

bird watching, final week

Fake Journal april 28, 2014
4.28.2014, crow sketch and bird watching notes


Thirteen Ways of Looking at a Blackbird

I know noble accents
And lucid, inescapable rhythms;
But I know, too,
That the blackbird is involved
In what I know.

When the blackbird flew out of sight,
It marked the edge
Of one of many circles.

Wallace Stevens (excerpt)


Yesterday I noticed two crows taking trips back and forth to a nearby evergreen, a Douglas Fir, carrying twigs. I believe they must be building a nest high up in that tree.

This morning they are busy again. Once they have the twig, they do not return directly to the nest location. Instead, they go from tree to tree, waiting for up to 30 seconds at each stop, before they finally fly to the nest location.

Fake Journal april 29,2014
bird watching, april 29, 2014


I could hear a bird singing and I've heard this bird before. Its song sounds like the opening to Beethoven's 5th but with a shorter last note and not so ominous sounding.

After checking Cornell Labs' Macaulay Library, I believe it is the black-capped chickadee's song. Although, the song I'm hearing is more defined, it is closest to that bird's song.


Fake Journal april 30, 2014
layout of bird watching area and two viewing spots.


Observations upon completion of the Fake Journal

This began as a project for the Fake Journal month in April. My character was an amateur naturalist, someone who could easily identify their natural surroundings.

I spent the month of March preparing for the project by taking color notes on the birds that came to the feeder. The first entries in this journal follow that format.

I also checked out Sibley books on birds and trees and naturalist books from the library and read advice from professional scientists on keeping journals. These were people who had gone from the lack of tech age to the tech age and were arguing for the advantages of keeping a written, illustrated journal.

Frustrations and Break Throughs

In the beginning, my frustrations stemmed from not having enough drawing, so I made a conscious effort to draw the birds. Then I became frustrated with the drawings. Birds are not easy to draw for me, so it was a constant learning process with each drawing.

I gained peace knowing that these feelings of inadequate drawing skills are often shared by the scientists who keep journals. Letting go of those feelings brought me back to the purpose of the project: being a naturalist keeping a daily journal.

What I Gained

Birds hold a tender place in my heart for the memories of my Mom. She often watced them as she ate her breakfast. For this project, although not my intention, I fell into the same habit: taking notes on the birds as I had my breakfast.

Mornings became reflective and meditative as I sat watching for birds. My main bird watching was for one to two hours in the morning, but throughout the day, I couldn't help but run to the window when I heard a bird or stop repeatedly while on my run to take note of birds and trees.

I learned to slow down and take note of nature.


When one tugs at a single thing in nature, he finds it attached to the rest of the world.
John Muir


sending good vibes out to Alexandra who hosts Sunday Sketches and also joining fake journal month

6 comments:

  1. I just love your journal pages. Whether I'm happy or down from recent trials, your work always lifts my spirits. Truly. Hope you have a lovely weekend. :)

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  2. Alexandra, you are an amazing person and I'll be keeping you in my thoughts while you recover.

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  3. It looks great how you create your journal pages! They inspire me so much to to something like this in my dieary as well. Thank you for sharing :)

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  4. What a blessed experience you've related. There is nothing more accessible and glorious than nature, but so many people just take it for granted. Thank you for sharing the experience with us through your detailed art and journaling.

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  5. Juana, this has been a thoroughly "authentic" fake journal! You've captured the naturalist's eye and sense of description. Great work!

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  6. This has been wonderful to see during the weekend, Juana! I love how this project not only brought you more in touch with nature, but also with your Mom. And not least the the offering this project gave--to slow down and notice things... always a good thing. :o) I like the idea of a fake journal, and taking up something one would like to do/be and then really going for it. I might have to be more of an "artist" in my journal. ;o) Happy Days ((HUGS))

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