If you follow me on facebook you have already read that I am writing a children’s book.
I am so excited about this adventure. This week I have been working on illustrations and so far they are turning out great. My dilemma is whether to make them line drawings or water colors, but I’m leaning toward water colors.
I illustrated a book in the early 1990s with line drawing but that was the publisher’s request. The book was called “What Can Little Fish Do?” by Devora Landing. We were both living in Northern Virginia at the time we met. I cannot remember how we met; grocery store, art supply store, book store, but we met without a mutual friend or introduction. That was in the late 1980s and when the book was finally published in 1994, she sent me a copy.
The book is basically about a mom fish who teaches her babies to form shapes (circles, triangles, etc) to band together and stay safe.
My book is about the life of a Snowy Plover. Yes there is sweetness, yes there is drama, and always a happy ending.
My goal is to teach children about Snowys and other shorebirds, how precious they are and about conservation. I’m working on a series and the Snowys are the debut.
If a publisher doesn’t pick this up, I’ll put it on Kindle for Kids and CreateSpace for a printed version. Being the publisher I can pick my illustration style. I guess we’ll see when it is published.
April 8 is “Draw a Picture of a Bird Day” and I am going to challenge all of my readers to draw a picture of a bird.
I would love to see your picture so please post it to the comments below.
You can draw any type of bird you wish: Blue Jay, Junco, Towhee, Robin, Wren. This is a creative activity and I thoroughly enjoy drawing bird pictures in my nature journal. It is a fun and relaxing activity. You may want to start a nature journal this month.
Want a daily drawing challenge? Here are 30 ideas for drawing birds. For a printable version of this list click here.
April 26 is “Go Birding Day” so don’t forget to take your journal with you. Make lists of what you see, draw pictures, jot notes of the adventure. But most of all, enjoy yourself.
Wetlands are often mistaken for wasted land but they are actually quite essential for world. These wetlands act as sponges and help soak up excess water so higher ground can stay dry and usable. Wetlands also protect a whole unique ecosystem important for human. Algae, fish, plants, birds, shell fish and other creatures live in these wetlands. They help determine the environmental health of an area or a whole region.
The World Wetland Day organization explains it this way: “Livelihoods from fishing, rice farming, travel, tourism, and water provision all depend on wetlands. And wetlands are vital to us in many other ways. They host a huge variety of life, protect our coastlines, provide natural sponges against river flooding, and store carbon dioxide to regulate climate change.”
Well, you can have your own original print of this adorable little “e”-shaped shorebird on your wall. I’ve made these prints to raise money to support groups that work hard during the year to educate the public and keep the nesting shorebirds and chicks safe. Ten percent of the funds raised will be given this year to a group that works hard on Siesta Key, FL.
The prints are available at Crafty Beachcomber on Etsy so please check them out. With each print purchase, you will also get a FREE Save The Chicks sticker for your car window or school notebook. Prints marked as medium have an image of 5×7 while prints marked as large will have a 6×9 image.
Go to World Shorebird Day website and register on their map what beach you’ll be on today.
Count the birds you see and record them on World Shorebirds Day’s website.
Record on Save-the-Chicks.com your birding experience. I’d love to hear from you.
Spread the word.
Shorebirds are an essential part of our world-wide eco-system. Shorebirds can help us monitor air quality, water quality, plant and food quality, migratory pathways and their hindrances, and more. Get to know what shorebirds can do you for you. You might find a new hobby or activity born out of this knowledge. Then get to know what you can do for shorebirds.
While searching for studies on how plastics affect shorebirds and seabirds I stumbled upon Farallones Marine Sanctuary Association’s website.
The site is filled with extensive information on the Northern California coast’s marine and bird and wildlife. The Sanctuary Association has developed educational programs for a variety of age groups about the unique habitats of the region.
I highly recommend that you take some time to read about the Sanctuary and then work through the educational material. Click the image above to go to the site.
Back to plastics: July is Plastic Free July, according to an organization that spreads the word every year about the impact of single use plastics. PlasticFreeJuly.org challenges people worldwide to try to live without single use plastics for a day or for the whole month.
The impact of plastics on our environment is beyond our scope of imagination. Internet articles tell of how there is more to it than we realize. Plastic trash comes in all sizes: large trash, like waterbottles, to small particles, like the microbeads in personal hygiene products like toothpaste, are being ingested by marine life and birds. And it’s killing them. Once ingested, it’s hard to digest and remains inside the creature’s stomach. If your stomach always feels full then you don’t eat, right? Well, that’s the same for wildlife. Ingesting materials that don’t leave the stomach can cause starvation. Some materials can cause poisoning.
Do what you can to keep our shorebirds plastic free. Check out the educational link above to learn about the sanctuary and birding habitats in Northern California. Then plan to minimize your plastics use this month. You may end up with a good habit.
The Caspian Tern is the largest Tern in the world. In the Western Hemisphere it usually winters in Central America, migrates throughout the eastern part of the United States and nests along beaches as far north as Oregon and Canada. A rare breeder in Florida, where is spends a lot of time, it has been found to scrape out nests near small tufts of beach grass and shells, lay eggs that are buff color and lightly spotted and raise young. These are found near Tampa.
According to the Cornell Lab of Ornithology website, www.allaboutbirds.com, the Caspian Tern is on the Least Concern list for bird conservation meaning it is not endangered, just being watched.. However, people need to be aware of these and other shorebirds to avoid them ending up on the endangered list.
Many beach goers feel that they are free to use any part of the beach and that the nesting areas are an annoyance. They don’t feel that, by hanging out near the ropes that surround a nesting bird area, they are doing anything wrong. Many people don’t believe birds are that important to the eco-system.
If you set up on the beach near a roped nesting area, birds of prey (larger birds, fish crows, eagles) are attracted because they are looking for food. People on the beach means there will be food thrown around for these birds of prey to grab and fight over. Meanwhile, chances are great they flying bird will spot a nesting bird sitting on its nest. Feeling threatened, the nesting bird flees leaving either the eggs or the chicks vulnerable to the prey.
Caspian Terns are aggressive birds not to be messed with. It has been documented that Caspian Terns have attacked people on the head, who have come too close to their nesting grounds. It is wise to give these and other nesting shorebirds their space. The beach is large enough for everyone.
Caspian Terns #1
Caspian Terns #2
Caspian Terns #3
Caspian Terns #4
If you’d like to help out the organizations that educate people, raising awareness of nesting shorebirds, you can donate to this organization, Save the Chicks, by clicking the button on the Donate page. Or, by purchasing a set of Caspian Tern notecards from Crafty Beachcomber on Etsy. Each set of four different photos are attached to blank, ivory cards suitable for framing. There is a limited edition of 100 of these numbered sets. The photos are above. Proceeds from the sales of the limited edition card set will be given to an group that works hard to educate beach goers about what the roped areas mean, the importance of birds to the eco-system and other crucial. Subscribe to this blog, on the button to right on this page, for more information about the group we pick as financial beneficiary this year.