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



Thursday, 18 May 2017

springtime selection


Hello again and thanks for dropping in.
The heat has come and we haven't begun to switch over to our summer wardrobe so that is something I'll have to do today.

I have a smattering of photos from the last week that have little to do with each other, but the week is wearing on so I thought I'd throw a few together for you.

We've had some rain, which is always welcome, making for some fascinating skies

here, over a shopping mall parking lot

I asked Wally to stop once more so I could get this shot

Back home that same evening we'd had no rain.
the forget-me-nots under the old ash tree

I continue to see the raven out back, mated pairs of robins, starlings, blue jays, sparrows and of course, the crows. I even saw a young deer challenge the raven in the field one evening, scaring him off, poor guy. Yet he returns daily for a forage or two in the field.

One morning I ran for my camera just in time to take one shot of this gorgeous male pheasant as he traversed the space between the cabin and the treed perimeter, just where the old shed used to stand.

Muji and I had a love session on another morning. He loves to hug.

He loves to rub my chin and give little love bites, but I've learned what's coming- so I duck him

As I said, just a disparate selection of pictures to share today, this one from my cookbook shelf

I regret that I still don't have any new artwork to share.
This is the little Gainsborough copy I made in watercolour that you may recognize from last year.
It floats around the house and has settled here on the Quebec hutch.

Thank you, as always, for visiting. In the heat of the day, I have closed up the house, curtains and windows, to keep the cool inside which means I just may make it into the studio (and hang a load of laundry).

let's have a lovely day!