Back in the saddle again for 2008. Lots to look forward to.
All the kittens I fostered have found new homes. I thought that I would start to introduce that permanent animal members of the household. First up- Niki, our four year old tricolor rough collie, self-appointed guardian of all creatures large and small. Here’s picture of him with Tucker and Katie. Niki had laid down by the crate and the two kittens came over and got as close as they could. All of them quickly became fearless of my 75 lb. dog.
We finally had our first ducky visitors to our pond, three hooded mergansers. One male, two females. I thought, uh oh, there go the goldfish, since mergansers are diving ducks and, sure enough, while we watched, they caught and ate two big ones. But we have since seen at least eight or nine in their usual hangout, so we didn’t do too badly. Michiko spotted them and instantly became a fan. More about her in the next week or so.
In art news, the latest issue of the newsletter of the Society of Animal Artists features drawings that I have done of Mongolian wildlife. Here’s three of them, an argali ram, an ibex billy and a takhi mare and foal (Przewalski’s Horse). They were done on 2 ply bristol with a Wolff’s carbon pencil.
Got these pics just in time. A real winter storm is heading in, so bye-bye sunshine for awhile. The pond is still literally rough around the edges and the plantings are new, but great afternoon light covers a multitude of sins. Photo 1 is looking east, with the house in the background. Photo 2 is looking north and includes the greenhouse.
On the art front, here’s my latest giclee from an original oil painting. It’s called “Don’t Badger Me”. Go to my website at http://www.foxstudio.biz for more information and how to order.
It’s been interesting over the last year seeing who shows up at our pond. Photos will be forthcoming as soon as I get over a particularly persistent cold which is going around our area. Today we spotted a red-shouldered hawk for about the fourth time, so we may have our first winter raptor regular. The west end of the property (1 acre total) is being allowed to revert to native forest, but right now it’s shrubby grass. He’s perching up in a big Douglas fir next door, then flying over to some dead cascara buckthorn trunks and carefully inspecting the ground. Not sure what he’ll find. Mice, voles and shrews most likely. Maybe a frog or two.
Other avian garden visitors these days are juncos, robins, goldfinches and Steller’s jays.
The pond has also drawn a great blue heron (apparently a neighborhood regular named “Bill”), a great egret, male and female belted kingfishers and, to our surprise, a double-crested cormorant. In the spring, to our utter amazement and delight, a movement caught our eye and we looked out from the living room just in time to see a juvenile osprey lifting off! No ducks yet, which I find kind of ironic, since that is was I thought we would get this fall. A friend gave us some teal decoys for a joke, but even they haven’t worked yet.
Turkey vultures occasionally circle over and there are resident ravens and crows.
I keep my camera handy so I can shoot reference as the opportunity presents itself. Missed the osprey and cormorant, but have gotten the hawk, heron and egret.
Just finished Prodigal Summer by Barbara Kingsolver. Highly recommended to anyone with an interest in nature! She is an amazing writer.
On the animal welfare front, I highly recommend Nathan Winograd’s new book Redemption, which presents a whole new way of looking at animal sheltering in this country.