Sunday, December 22, 2013

I've been playing with different watercolor tools, and painting flowers.  A bit looser than my usual style, but it's fun and I think I'm finally getting a feel for it.  This one includes the use of watercolor pencils as well as tube watercolors.  These Stargazer lilies are so beautiful, but my whole studio smells lot them.

Saturday, November 30, 2013

A couple of pics of a huge flock of Pinyon Jays that invaded our feeders yesterday.  There must have been 50 or more around the feeders and out in the surrounding pinyons and junipers.  They stayed around for about 15 minutes, then were off again.

Thursday, November 28, 2013


I am grateful for all the love, joy, creativity, health and happiness in my life, and for all my family and wonderful friends.  I hope you all have a wonderful Thanksgiving.

Sunday, November 24, 2013

This was this morning, Nov. 24, 2013 with some hungry birds at the feeders.  Quite a difference.
This was yesterday, Nov. 23, 2013.  Just patches of snow after an overnight dusting.
Don't know why this photo turned out so yellow.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Sorry, I got my story backwards, but I'm sure you can figure out the sequence of photos and stories.
Hope you enjoy!
Taiga Merlin.  A beautiful little falcon.
I was sitting on the other side of the glass drinking my morning tea when he hit with a loud 'thunk'.  I got up and went outside, taking my phone/camera with me to check on him, and take a couple of photos.  He lay there, upside down, never moving or blinking, but he was breathing rapidly, so I knew he was not dead - yet.  I took photos and went back inside to watch - leaving him to recuperate, or die, expecting the latter, but not wanting to stress him further by my presence.

The Western Scrub Jays, which had scattered, along with all the other birds, when the Merlin came in, now came back to check out this 'killer' bird who now looked dead himself - but they stayed in the nearby trees watching.  Not wanting to get too close.   The Merlin's breath slowed, and suddenly, with just a twitch, he popped up.  Now he was sitting on the flagstones, looking directly at me.  His feathers were somewhat disarrayed, but other than that he looked fine.  He closed his eyes and napped off-and-on for a few minutes, and then took off like a flash into a nearby juniper tree.

I haven't seen him since that morning, but I suspect I'll see him again checking out my feeders, and scattering the little birds.  Looking for breakfast.


The Taiga Merlin had been visiting my bird feeders for some time.  I never caught more than just a glimpse of him as he zipped, and twisted, and flew between the juniper trees.  I knew he was about the size of a pigeon, and mostly whitish on the underside, and that he was an amazing flyer.  And intelligent. But that was all I knew about him.  He came in fast, which scattered all the birds at the feeders, and he tried to drive them toward the glass patio doors.  When one hit the doors, usually a house sparrow, it was either stunned or killed, and the Merlin would swoop down and pick the bird up, without ever even slowing down.  Yummy lunch!

But this day was different, either the sparrow outmaneuvered him, or he misjudged his flight, because he flew right into the glass door, and he lay on the flagstone looking very dead.


Saturday, November 16, 2013

Western Scrub Jays at the water bowl.  

Nov. 10, 2013

No Stellar's Jays today or yesterday.  I suspect the Western Jays are keeping them away.  I put out two handfuls of peanuts in the shell, but they were gone by the time I got out of the shower - all either eaten or buried, safely hidden, in the arroyo.

All the birds are eating as fast as they can.  Perhaps they know that rain and cold weather are on the way.  It's beautiful today though, about 60 plus degrees and sunny and clear.  There's still a lot of color in the yard, but the native plants are all tucked in for the winter.  The vine cholla has lovely bright yellow fruits - but don't get too close - those spines are vicious.  The grasses are dried and have dropped most of their seeds, either to blow on the winds to a new beginning in the spring, or eaten by tiny birds - keeping them full and warm on long, cold winter nights.

Sunday, November 10, 2013

Stellar's Jay

A pair of Stellar's Jays outside my kitchen windows.  I was afraid to move.  They were very skittish, flew and hopped from tree to tree.  Then flew off.  I've caught a glimpse of them a couple more times today.  Maybe they'll get used to the yard and come back to the feeders.  I put out peanuts in the shell for them in the tray feeder, but the Western Scrub Jays steal them quickly and zoom off into the arroyo to bury them.  They're stash!
Funny birds the Western Jays.  There are three or four of them, probably a family.  Very active birds.  They squabble and play and zoom around the area.  They rule the roost - or at least they think they do.  Mostly they're just bigger and aggressive, so the little ones scatter, then come right back.  Not a bit scared, they just don't want to get run over.  It'll be interesting to see how the Stellar's interact with the Western's.  So far they seem very shy.

Saturday, November 2, 2013

Two photos of the fabulous colors outside my studio.  Great colors this year.

A few more sketches from Little St. Simons Island, GA, and a study of a Western Jay in my backyard.  I had to do the Jay in stages as he kept flying in and out.  Beautiful bird.

Monday, October 28, 2013

HAPPY HALLOWEEN EVERYONE.  I just had to add this pic I painted from some of the beautiful leaves falling in my yard.

Sketches from my trip to Little St. Simons Island, GA in September.  This trip was with a group from Cornell Lab of Ornithology.  Great bird watchers.  They really knew what they were doing.  Me - not so much.  But I loved the island, and sketching.  It's a naturalists paradise.  I hope to go back next year and sketch some more.  Perhaps even some birds.

Saturday, October 26, 2013

Little St. Simons Island, Georgia

From my sketchbook while at Little St. Simons Island, Georgia coast.  September 2013  
I'll post more tomorrow.