Today, I took a little break from painting to get outdoors on my mountain bike. I am fortunate to live next to Susquehanna State Park which has nice trails to ride/hike and lots of birds to observe. If I'm not painting, this is usually where I can be found. It was a hot day here in MD; it got to almost 90 so I took many breaks. While on a couple of these breaks, I had some nice bird encounters. On the first break, I spotted a male eastern towhee, one of my favorite birds. I always love seeing them because I don't see them too often. The male is handsome in his black, orange, and white plumage. He was calling to his mate... or it could have been a rival. I heard another one returning his call off in the near distance. The towhee is on my long list of bird subjects I'd like to paint. Unfortunately, I'm lacking good photographic reference of them. Every time I've spotted one, I've been sans camera. Wouldn't you know it? Someday! On my last rest stop, I saw several blue jays causing a ruckus in the treetops. Apparently, a broad-winged hawk was perched nearby. He took off in the opposite direction of the jays and landed in a nearby tree. The blue jays must have set off some sort of warning because 5 crows swiftly came to chase off the hawk. Being a lover of raptors, I always feel bad for them when they get chased off.
Speaking of raptors, here is yesterday's work on the great horned owl.