Tag Archives: bird

3 Hawk drawings

Here are a couple of drawings from yesterday and one from today.

Yesterday was 2 takes on the same source image Cooper’s hawk.

I like the first one better. The closely placed eyes are true to the little bird’s place in the raptor pecking order…

The second one didn’t quite work out line weight and “feel”-wise.

This one I like, it’s pretty dark and matches the coloring of the source image well.

Both source images were taken in Cape May during the fall migration.

Red-Tailed Hawk drawing

I’ve started a slightly new way (to me) of learning to draw a new bird. I’m doing small versions right next to each other. This makes it easier to iterate and compare each version. It also means I can draw each one quicker because they’re smaller 😉.

Here’s the source image.

These are the two side by side versions, the one on the right is my second try.

Trying to figure out the size and placement of features.

And then getting it better. I think I really improved. There so much feather and hair detail around the eye and beak that’s easy to miss or overlook.

One thing I want to get better at is capturing the essence in fewer lines/strokes.

Eagle Drawings #4 and #5


Here’s another take on an eagle, with the eyes more proportional and further apart.

The other drawings had more of a hawk look, with the eyes closer.

And here’s another one, this one I actually drew with a tilt in the image itself.  The above was just photographed with the tilt.  I think the below wound up less symmetrical as a result.

When I do these I tend to start with the left eye, ie the right side of the drawing, and then when I try to draw the right eye (left side of the drawing) I’m covering up what I already drew with my hand!  It’s weird, I don’t know why I do it that way.  I’m going to try the other way.  What I do however is make a faint sketch to outline the placement of eyes and beak, but even so it has some out a little off…


“Eagle” drawings

I’ve picked up drawing again of late.

Last year I drew a bunch and again a few months ago I drew some.

Tonight I drew 3 of the same thing, from the same reference photo.  The first one basically was to get an idea of the proportions and how to lay out the features.


Next I drew it again, with more lines, and more crazy, overlapping features, trying to explore it a bit.


Finally I drew it again, starting more slowly and with much smaller strokes/lines.


With the above as the start, I added more.


Finally I added more details, and finished the drawing.  The first two took about 10 minutes each, and the last one might have taken 15 or 20 minutes.


I like the results.  The eyes should probably be further apart to be more accurate.

The above are photographed with my phone, and then edited in snapseed to black and white, with the key edits being the tone-curve to boost contrast and desaturation to make them black and white.

In the past I have drawn a ton of eagle portraits from the side of the bird, that are like this one.  I did this with pen and a highlighter ;).

SnapseedI had a bunch of drawings on Instagram but I closed my account, so there’s just this one drawing remaining online from my past efforts.

Amazon links:

Favorite Florida Bird: Reddish Egret

Reddish Egret at Fort De Soto, Florida.

Reddish Egret @ Florida

These birds are my favorites – they hunt in an animated way, and have such beautiful feathers.  I especially like their head features, and the way they fan out.


I’ve seen these guys on the east coast at Merritt Island NWR.  All the other ones I’ve seen are on the gulf side, at places including Ft Myers Beach, Fort De Soto, Tiger Tail Beach, Fred Howard Park and Ding Darling NWR.  At Ding Darling I saw a white morph reddish.  And once I saw a juvenile reddish egret at Merritt Island.

Since they’re so rare (~400 pairs in Florida per this) it seems special to get to see one.

The reddish egret (Egretta rufescens) is North America’s rarest heron with maybe 400 nesting pairs left in Florida. The estimated global population believed to be fewer than 7,000, with 2,000 pairs in the United States. (credit tbo.com)

Blackwater NWR, MD

Blackwater refuge is one of my favorite places.  It’s about 100 miles (driving) east of me, and takes almost 2 hours to get there.  I first went in 2006, and didn’t make it there for sunrise until my second visit.
The 100 mile sunrise

Since then, I’ve been there probably more than 100 times. It’s in the top 3 places I’ve been too (with Great Falls and the US National Zoo being the other two).

Here are a few of my favorite images.

Snow geese, double-bird shot.
Double Blue Goose @ Blackwater Refuge, MD 2010

Great Blue Heron w/ fish
Great Blue

An American Kestrel w/ some food and flying upside down…
Top Gun

A pair of eagles in the morning watching their territory
Eagles @ Blackwater

I have this one printed big on my wall, I love the lush green grass and still water reflecting the clouds above. Taken with Nikon D4.
National Treasure!

Finally this flock of Red-Winged Blackbirds was fun to see and shoot from the Wildlife Drive.
Red-Winged Black Birds!


Here is my flickr set for Blackwater Refuge.  And here’s a blog I made as a landing page for Blackwater refuge.

If you decide to go, you should get there for sunrise, avoid late spring and summer (bugs!!!), and get a Duck Stamp which covers entry fees for a year (~July to July) in all National Wildlife Refuges in the country. You can get these at the refuge, or at a post office.

https://www.friendsofblackwater.org/ has an eagle cam in the winter and an osprey cam in the spring and summer.

My current favorite camera is the Nikon D850, and I primarily use the Nikon 600mm.

If you are on a budget or are looking for a good deal – I recommend you investigate these two:

  • Nikon 200-500mm – I don’t own this, but I have heard great things, and it is very affordable. I know a few people who use this regularly and get great results. I may get it to use instead of my 200-400mm and 80-400mm.
  • Nikon D500 – this is 20MPs and 10 frames per second. It’s a great high megapixel high frame rate body. I own this and used it regularly for birds and nature – until I got the D850. The D850 is slower and full frame, but for me I am good with going slower and have a larger field of view (FX vs DX).

Here’s a shot with D500 and 600mm…
Make Me Bend