Sunday, April 17, 2016

Edmonton and Area Land Trust

As an artist who paints the natural world I am interested in the preservation of natural habitat and native species of plants, insects, birds and mammals so when the call came out for Edmonton Area Land Trust  online art auction I gladly sent works.

We must work together to save land for all species.

Wednesday, April 13, 2016

Migration is on.

 Spring is arriving on wings. Today we drove out to Stony Plain to pick up the exhibition pieces and were told that my crochet sculptural Spirit Vessels garnered a lot of attention. Outside the Centre was a carving that is being remodelled by a chickadee. It looks like tape was placed over a previous hole but this wee fella is not deterred in the least.

 Heading south from Stony Plain we came across Tundra Swans and canvas backs. There were also Mallards, Coots, Canadian Geese, Buffleheads and Redheads on the marsh. Most were too far out of range for my 300 prime lens, this image is greatly cropped. Many of these swans have a yellow mark at the base of their bill near the eye, click on photo to see image large.

 Next we headed south to Clifford E Lee Nature Sanctuary and had a few White-fronted Geese fly overhead while we walked the boardwalk. There were Canadian Geese, mallards and one male shoveler on the pond. The wind blew up though luckily we were on the edge of a passing storm so we only got hit with cold raindrops for a short period. The ground is dry and dusty here already as there was lack of snow for moisture this past winter. Rain is definitely needed.

 Overwintering butterflies came out of hibernation and were flitting about in the warm sun once the winds passes us by. Milbert's Tortiseshell.

 Song Sparrows are heading north, there were a group of about thirty. Being secretive ground birds that spend time scratching under fallen branches in the leaf litter looking for bugs and seeds it took awhile to get a clear photo.

 A comma butterfly, saw two today.

Blues were sky dancing in the warm sunlight, twirling upward together then flitting about granting a happy moment when one settled for a moment.

Monday, April 11, 2016

New work posted

I have posted new zany portraits at the above link, enjoy.

Thursday, March 24, 2016

Earth Spirit Vessels

These two vessels went to a lovely lady who has supplied me with cording for adding to my creative projects. Its delightful to take what others no longer need or want and make something different out of it. Its serendipitous  to be able to give those people something they do want and and would use. Have a wonderful Easter weekend.

Thursday, March 17, 2016

 White-winged Crossbill, male. I love how they hang upside down.

 Male White-winged Crossbill, a special winter visitor.

 Black-capped Chickadee are daily visitors coming to collect black oil sunflower seeds. We always buy seeds and suet from the Wildbird General Store in Edmonton. We discovered years ago that being seed specialists they are very fussy and that cheapo department store seeds are a waste of money as the birds just toss them to the ground. 

 Red-breasted Nuthatch are also regulars, they love the suet put out for them in winter. We are lucky to have a nesting pair in our spruce tree so its boughs are always busy with the chatter of family life year round.

 Boreal Chickadee are sometimes winter visitors, we don't get them often so they are a delight when they come to gather bugs and grubs hibernating in the spruce trees.
 Boreal Chickadee.

 White-winged Crossbill, female, these we had never seen in our neighbourhood till this last week. We were happy to watch both the Red and the White-winged Crossbills forage at the tree tops and on the ground.

Red Crossbill, male.

House Finch, male. House finch come most days as they also enjoy the black oil sunflower seeds. I've noticed lots of singing lately and the males are feeding the females, spring courting bonds start early.

 Common Redpole is another sporadic visitor to our yard. They come for seeds from the Paper Birch tree in the back yard. This one though seemed to enjoy the company of the Crossbills and was foraging amongst them under the coniferous trees.

 Common Redpole

Juried HerWORK exhibition at Stoney Plain Multicultural Center Art Gallery.

It is a wonderful feeling when work is juried into an exhibition. Hubby took this shot at the opening.  I always leave my spirit open for creativity in any manner that intrigues me. This exhibition is a wonderful opportunity to showcase what I have been creating since last summer. Earth Spirit Vessels, created for the love of our earth, its small insect inhabitants and native flowers. It seems that for environmental work I lean towards textiles due its ability to satisfy my sculptural interests.

Friday, January 29, 2016

Birding delights in our own front yard.

With excitement I share with you a gift granted to me, the winter birds that blessed us with their presence this past week. The temperature warmed greatly above zero and as the snow melted flocks of birds we had never noticed in our area arrived to gleam seeds from the cones of the fruitful spruce trees that sport a bumper crop of cones way up top.

There are seven White-winged Crossbills in this photo, but if you can spot five you are doing well as they blend in so fine. The interesting thing I've noticed is this is a mixed flock, there are also Red Crossbills, see below photo. 
The red birds are the males, the yellow greenish birds are females.

Male White-winged Crossbills.
 In The Birds of Alberta book it says they rarely flock together, so I guess we were really given a gift. These birds stayed mostly in the tree tops. Two days later they were back, this time many were feeding on seeds dropped to the ground. 
Crossbills top mandible (jaw, beak) crosses over the lower one. The beak is specifically designed to pry into coniferous cones to gain access to the seeds within. What a wonderful experience to watch this female White-winged Crossbill pry out seeds by jabbing her thin curved beak up under the lip of the cone and wiggle her head back and forth pulling out seeds.

Unique specialty designs of nature these birds are, you can clearly see the beak crosses over itself. Got this shot as the bird hopped under the window I was shooting out of.
Female White-winged Crossbill.

While the females were prying seeds from fallen cones the males were a lazily picking seeds from the ground.
I believe this may be an immature male as his coloration is more orange than red.

Mature White-winged Crossbills were elusive as they took flight at the slightest noise so I was lucky to get this clear shot of one on the sidewalk.

Male Red Crossbill, notice no wing bars and softer coloration.

Female Red Crossbill posing on the gutter just above where I was standing. A female flew down and landed two feet away from my head, I held my breath in awe, a gift to behold close up. She peered into my eyes, cocked her head, then took to the air. sigh.

Where the melting snow puddled in the gutter the Crossbills took turns bathing.

May you enjoy the gift of these photos as much as I enjoyed taking them.