sketching in Sonoma County

This weekend I visited a friend in Sebastopol, CA, in the southwestern part of Sonoma County. Saturday afternoon, we took a quick walk at Laguna de Santa Rosa park. The trail winds along a waterways, seasonal ponds, and dairy farms. We sat to sketch oak tress on the far bank of the river in the calm of the afternoon sun.

This morning I sketched the feeder birds as we made breakfast. The regulars included Chestnut-backed Chickadee, Tufted Titmouse, House Finch, Red-breasted & White-breasted Nuthatch.

We then headed out to Bodega Head and the southern Sonoma coast. Most everyone was there to look for migrating whales but we were there to draw. Of course, my most cooperative subjects were the Herring gulls at the picnic benches. This is why people hate them! We watched as two little girls chased them away from their table and then proceeded to break up fresh bread to feed them. Go figure…

After about an hour of snacking and sketching, we were just getting ready to head to the car when something in the sky caught our eyes. We watched a Peregrine Falcon stoop to the water’s surface about 200 yards offshore and snatch a small bird (Pied-billed Grebe? Bufflehead?) from the water. There was no point in trying to draw it so we just watched in awe.

As we headed back, the tide was out in the harbor, exposing a wide stretch of mudflats. We just couldn’t resist stopping to sketch the American Coots waddling in the shallows.

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