The Faint Echo of Spring

I found this nest in the collection of the Pember Museum of Natural History in Granville, NY, where I spent the better part of a day sketching nests that have outlived their builders by more than a century. Somewhere in the weave of stems lies the faint echoes of a grassy wetland, the calls of birds and frogs, the mix of cool air and warm sunshine, of another springtime. I’ve never seen a sedge wren (also called the short-billed marsh wren), and this is as close as I may come. Can you imagine how such a small bird weaves a ball of a nest with nothing more than a beak?

Tips & Techniques– Include field notes in your journal to make it a good reference for what you discover and learn. When I first saw the label on this nest I didn’t know that there were two distinct marsh wren species: a short-billed and a long-billed. I had seen marsh wren nests that didn’t look quite like this, and a quick Google search explained why—the ones I’d seen were made by the long-billed marsh wren. These two species have different colored eggs, too: white versus mottled purplish brown. Art, discovery, and learning fit together beautifully for me in the pages of my journal. I hope you have opportunities to do the same!

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11 thoughts on “The Faint Echo of Spring

  1. Your nests amaze me, Jean. And your sketchbook pages are always perfectly balanced and pleasing to the eye. I love your use of white space – I have so much to learn from you. Thank you for continuing to share your work and your thoughts.

    • Thanks Leslie — and right back at you. You are doing amazing work in your sketchbooks. Your decorative flair and precision are remarkable. I’ve had to work hard to loosen up in my artwork and my journal is a good place to seek a balance between imperfection and accuracy.

      • Thank you Jean – I love these colours, they’re some of my favourites. The Phthalo Green Blue Shade is a gorgeous colour too – I shall look forward to seeing what you create with it….

  2. Pingback: Nest Trio | Drawn In

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