You have to be in the right place at the right time to see a common nighthawk. Even then, you need to be lucky. Nighthawks are nocturnal birds that fly at dusk over fields, ballparks, cities and towns, hawking insects in the air with quick wingbeats interrupted by soaring, swooping, and gliding. At first glance you might mistake one for a large bat. But then it soars or dives and you think, no, that’s a bird. Unfortunately, common nighthawks are no longer common—they’ve suffered a 60-percent decline in population since the 1960s. I’ve seen one on only four occasions. So, I felt especially lucky to witness one in flight this week after getting a late-evening ice cream cone at a local farm market. A doubly good treat.
Tips and Techniques– I love doing this kind of journal page where inspiration and learning come together. Next time you see something you don’t know much about, sketch it, and then do some research. Add notes right on the page. You’ll be much more likely to remember your experience and retain what you learn.
UPCOMING WORKSHOPS: Tapping Audubon’s Passion: Sketching Birds in Watercolor, Thursday, September 23, 2-5pm (via Zoom), and the Olana Plein Air Festival, in person on Saturday, September 25 at the Olana State Historic Site, Hudson, NY. Visit the Workshops page to learn more.