Thursday, 25 May 2017


Welcome back to Birdland. I don't remember such a proliferation of birdies as this spring has brought. The little sparrows are nesting in the hedge, starlings in the cherry tree, crows a few houses up the street (thank goodness, the noisy things), and the robins seem to be next door.

Meanwhile, "back at the ranch", the orange crested warbler

is still going at it

staring at himself in a window of the cabin

knowing there's an intruder there 

"Yes, I'm certain! There you are!"

He continues to scrabble at the window
(my shots of that useless on this sunless day, at this distance)

the wind made it a good drying day despite the low sunlight

The little warbler takes a rest in the honeysuckle

then on a pipe leftover from the shed deconstruction

Meanwhile the pheasant is out in the field

and a starling surveys his world from the cabin roof

he hops to the crest of the roof

and begins to sing

the song of his people, all the while fluttering his wings like a wind up toy

and the gurgling

One day we listened to him do a dozen or more different musical phrases,
a private concert while we picnicked on our side porch

hopping over to meet a newcomer, such social creatures

On a sunnier day I ran for the camera just in time to get a rare shot of the female pheasant

It's the male I usually see

and I do mean usually as they are out every day,

starlings are picking loose grass in our yard for nests I suppose

the yard is lush, the little apple tree in the foreground with more blossoms than in years past

yesterday, another lucky sighting of the female, though you can see how ghost-like she appears
blending with the old hay

the male is magnificent. Can you see his feather "ears"?

It's tempting to apologize for these blurry shots

blown up from images much smaller than this

I'm just grateful to have this new view opened up
(see the warbler in the right hand window?)

On Monday, Victoria Day, here in Canada, I painted the garage doors of the cabin.
This shot taken from my studio window where...

I put the finishing touches on my robin girl
(paint pens, coloured pencils and fountain pen)
How could I not finally draw a bird after all this influence as if the Universe isn't trying to tell me something!

Gratitude. It is heightened for me with loss. That's ironic in this western world where we have so much. But it is loss that puts a fine point on our overview. It becomes our duty; yes, we are obliged to remember the abundance in which we live, and in gratitude ...


Friday, 19 May 2017

bird crazy

Good Morning from another quintessential warm and sunny spring day in the Annapolis Valley.

Even though it's Friday, this first group of pictures to come was taken almost immediately after posting yesterday's blog. The one's thereafter are what consumed most of my day, mighty hunter that I am as I get a (ahem) bird's eye view from my bathroom window out to where the shed once stood. It's a wonder I got the laundry done.

I ran for the camera when I saw this bird doing combat with itself

in the window of Forget-Me-Not Cabin.

taking a rest

This went on for a few hours during the day and into the evening and is continuing today as I write.
Please pardon the laundry line in the way; I got so excited that I didn't see it when I took this photo. There's a secret, by the way, for shooting a good composition: watch your edges)

It took me the longest time to identify this bird, but after much research I've decided it must be a one year old (as opposed to a juvenile) orange-crested warbler- minus an orange crest.

A blurry but apparent foe in the window, it will take him a while to abandon this serious business of defending his territory ( really no different than the birds that have been harassing the raven.)

Suddenly I saw something moving in the field

It wasn't until after I cropped my pictures of the juvenile orange-crested warbler (what a mouthful that is) that I realized that I had pheasants in the background (though I took this picture on purpose).
The warbler appears to be the same size as the pheasant, but that is because the pheasant is much further off in the field as the warbler sits in the little maple tree out back.
The pheasant is really quite a large bird comparatively.

The flash of coppery orange is what gave him away

Those of you who follow my blog will know how blurry my shots can be

but I couldn't pass up this rare sighting, especially of a female pheasant

The hen is so different than the male

It's a wonder they can recognize each other

such a pretty girl

and there she goes

here's a shot that shows the feather "ears" on the male

His plumage is spectacular; probably why I keep accidentally calling him a peacock
(though he cannot spread his tail like a peacock does.)
We often hear their distinctive squawk but never see them so this was a delight for me.

As I hung laundry, the birds wandered deeper into the field.  I took the opportunity for their gentle departure to roam the back yard, certain that I would still have time to get into the studio.
This shot is behind the cabin where an old woodshed must come down so we can re-side where the cedar shakes are peeling off.

the lilacs are in bud- love them

the yard in a haze of heat

The neighbour's mystery bush is in full bloom now

Wally's garlic is coming along

Harelson apple blossoms smell so sweet

It's so tempting to pick them for a vase full, but then there'd be less apples,
and, boy, are they worth waiting for

Forget-Me-Nots in the composter garden

Back inside Muji asks for cuddles

such a sweet boy

He puts his foot down.

Instead of getting into the studio, I thought I'd tweak the previous pictures so I'd be prepared for today's post. Little did I know what was coming.

That evening the pheasant was back

but as Wally went out to bring the laundry in, Mom and Pop Pheasant departed

Wally motioned me to come to the bedroom window.
Can you see it in the lower left hand side above the railing?

This tiny woodpecker, smallest of the woodpeckers, is a Downy Woodpecker

The low evening light and the movement of his rat-ta-ta-tapping in the ground made it nearly impossible to capture his image,

not to mention how tiny he was

I was thrilled nonetheless

Wally wanted me to come outside but I wouldn't for fear of frightening him away-
the woodpecker, not Wally- even though ...

 it seemed oblivious to Wally standing right there

Wally was afraid to move, afraid to take down any more laundry

This busy little guy kept drilling the ground

maybe they should be called groundpeckers! 

Eventually he did fly off

but not too far.
Here he is with the orange-crested warbler above him
in the little maple that was growing behind the old shed.
Looks like taking down the shed has brought me more than I bargained for!

The orange-crested warbler resumed its attacks on the stranger in the cabin window to no avail and continued doing so all through this morning.

Well, I worked on these photos late into the night, feeling mildly creeped out by the tapping on the kitchen window, beside which I worked. The curtains are only lightly hung as I wait for Wally to finish the trim on the window, so I knew that if someone wanted to, they could see in, which is always weird when you don't know who's out there.  As unlikely as this would be, I suspected what it really was...

and I was right. June Bugs! Benign beetles we used to welcome summer with when I was a child

About an inch long, they had a handy place to cling on the window screen, attracted to the light.

Okay, I can't leave you with bugs, so now I will search for something a little more uplifting to see you off on your weekend...

I went into the studio and purposefully finished this drawing I showed you weeks ago.
Mostly paint pens for the background, the flowers outlined in ink with a light wash of dye inks over the arms, face and shirt on a paper that doesn't like water but stood up well to a light touch of it. The rest is mostly coloured pencils: Prismacolor, Derwent and Inktense.

Thank you for the incentive to get into the studio!
I hope you can find time and inspiration for the things that bring you joy and presence.

peace dear ones