Smith's Longspurs

Smith's Longspurs
Smith's Longspurs

Saturday, February 28, 2015

Seward and the Elk

In Seward there is a woman named Eva who lives on the outskirts of town. She is known locally for her bird feeders. She always has the most bird action around. This is a female Pine Grosbeak.
The light was too dim to get sharp focus on this male Pine Grosbeak but I like the shot anyway.
Same goes for this Downy Woodpecker. There were two Purple Finches in her yard but they were too flighty to pose for photos. Purple Finches do not normally occur in Alaska. They were a nice addition, along with the Killdeer to my Alaska bird list.
A pair of Common Mergansers. They are called Goosanders in the Old World.
A Common Murre in poor light.
It is always good to see Long-tailed Ducks.
Overlooking the harbor. I love this place.
Heading to Lowell Point.
The last houses in town.
One last view of the bay. There is a Steller's Eider out there somewhere but we could not find it.
This is the painting that I have been working on lately. Aspen Standing, 16x20" I kind of like this one.
I have painted so many  Elk over the years but they tend to sell. So it goes.

Sunday, February 22, 2015

Seward, Rain and Birds


Yesterday was the annual  Anchorage Audubon Society field trip to Seward. There was a travel advisory for the Kenai Peninsula because of unsafe, (icy) driving conditions. About 25 fool hearty souls showed up anyway. There were lots of frost heaves in the highway that made for a bumpy drive.
The weather was unusually warm and it rained lightly all day. The roads were not at all slippery.
At first glance, Resurrection Bay looked to be devoid of bird life. In the distance there were many tiny dots bobbing on the water's surface. These were the birds.
Off to the far right there was a group of Common Mergansers. We saw many of them that day.
The even tinier dots were Horned Grebes.
We always see Harlequin Ducks in Seward but today we could not get close.
Surf Scoters are also common winter residents. We saw a few Black Scoters as well.
One piece of good fortune for me was when this Marbled Murrelet popped up just a few feet from shore. It was up for two seconds - long enough for one quick shot, then it was gone. Too bad the light from the overcast sky was so dim that I could not get a sharper focus. This is the only photo of Marbled Murrelet that I have been able to get. They normally stay far offshore. In the summer their colors are completely different.
The light also was too dim to get sharp focus on this Killdeer. This is only the second Killdeer that I have seen in Alaska. They do not normally occur this far north. It was the only shorebird that we saw yesterday.
On fresh water that is usually frozen in winter, we saw this cooperative Hooded Merganser.
These birds are not at all common in Alaska and this male is the only Hooded Merganser that I have been able to photograph. I have seen this individual in Seward before.
It was in the company of a female Common Goldeneye. These two individuals have been hanging out together for several years. I guess he cannot find a mate of his own species. There is more to come from Seward.

Saturday, February 14, 2015

Crane Dancing and Creek Riding

About three weeks ago I was working on a Sandhill Crane painting but I got burned out on it and did the loon painting instead. Since them I went back to the crane painting and just finished it a few minutes ago.
It is titled, 'Crane Dance' although only one crane is actually dancing.
There is not a lot of detail on this painting.
It is more about creating mood and atmosphere which makes room for the viewer's imagination to fill in the details.
The complete painting. It is 16x20".
Scott just sent me some photos of his, Jean's, and her friend's latest bike ride along Campbell Creek. Scott said that it was a bit treacherous but he managed to avoid falling. Jean and her friend were not so fortunate. No one got hurt.
This is fun for masochistic, (I mean adventurous) people.
The surface is both very slippery and uneven; not to mention full of pitfalls.
If your tire goes into that, you are going to plant your face into the unforgiving ice.
Some interesting ice sculptures.

Saturday, February 7, 2015

A Few Winter Birds

It has been cold and windy, and I have been busy this past week with various pursuits.. I will just post a few photos of common winter birds that are around, like this Hairy Woodpecker.
The Hairy Woodpecker's smaller cousin, Downy Woodpecker.
A Raven on a dismal day.
Different Raven, different day.
A female Pine Grosbeak.
Starlings in Town Square.
A Magpie also in Town Square.
A different Magpie closer to home.
Bald Eagles in Eagle River.
More of the same.

Saturday, January 31, 2015

The Great Northern Diver etc.

This is not the best photo and certainly not my best painting but it is my latest. It is a Common Loon. They are called, Great Northern Divers or Great Northern Loons in Great Britain. I decided to title this 11x14" painting, 'Great Northern Diver' to distinguish it from other Common Loon paintings that I have done.
Do you remember the Mallard photos that I included in last week's post? I went back there this week after we got a snowstorm followed by a big drop in temperatures. All of Chester Creek was frozen over and the Mallards were gone. To where? There are always a few places that do not freeze, like the outflow of Westchester Lagoon.
I also went to a greenbelt a few miles up from Spenard Crossing. Not much there but do you see the hiker in the photo?
A cross country ski trail along the greenbelt. The building in the background is part of the University of Alaska, Anchorage campus.
There was a Moose in the neighborhood this morning.
The end of winter is a bad time for Moose. Not much for them to eat. When there are deep snows, (not this winter) many Moose starve to death.
This cow was acting a little camera shy.
I guess she changed her mind and decided to mug for the camera.