Monthly Archives: March 2015

hawk owl update/with people

zhawk 009

Photo Joe Ferrer

Hawk owl

The day is  bright.

People, birders, people who came with birders, people who would be birders, photographers, on lookers…

They all congregate where a hawk owl has found its niche away from home.

That is what typically happens when someone posts the whereabouts of a rare bird on the internet.

The gathering of individuals from different political and philosophical walks have come  together here

and, for a while, any of the differences between them melt into a tolerant atmosphere

The disputes of bird banding, the struggle for preserving habitat, the environmental battles and wars,

all traded now for a glimpse of the tiny traveler …settled here because the pickings are very slim in its homeland so many miles to the north.

Reverence for one individual has created a fuss

A few cars drive by slow with the look of bewilderment upon their faces.

But the bird goes about its business

flying back and forth across the road in front of me as I sit in the car sketching.

The wetland, surrounded by tamarack and  high enough to support a few dead birch snags, is home to a population of furry rodents

The hawk owl has discovered this and is in for the long run, until the feast is over.

We meet some very delightful people there,who had come a long way to see the bird.  A science teacher and his wife…and students with great enthusiasm for seeing a hawk owl.

I thought…the love of nature is a very good reason for people to come together.


on the way to work

winterbirds 025Recently, husband Joe, and I were traveling to town.  We were on a mission to have one of my prints prepared for a fundraiser.   This is the time of year when spring things are happening  and the migration of birds is a large part of that.  So, even though we are always watching for signs of life as we travel,  there is more life to discover along the way with the coming of the season of renewal.

The melting snowdrifts along the roadsides reveal a  windfall of roadkill that often includes deer that did not make the crossing.  Their bodies offer a meal to scavengers and we happened to encounter one which was being readily used by  a group of ravens, crows and one hungry adult bald eagle.

The bird, so engrossed in the feast, was unimpressed with our presence, as Joe got some close shots with camera.   It continued to feed, looking up at us as it fed.  I remember how special the moments were when we were able to release birds back into the wild after they had been patients at our wildlife center and so the moments of seeing them in their wild condition is particularly meaningful.

We drove on to town and on the way back we discover another rare visitor to our area…a hawk owl hunting on the side of the road.  We stop in time to watch as it glides in front of our  car to the opposite side of the road and lands on the “catch of the day” and carries it off, giving us quite a show of strength and agility as it goes from snag to snag, before finding just the right one on which to have dinner.

The light was low, and Joe was not entirely satisfied with his photos.  However,  the moment was a gift and we enjoyed it.

So, the things that happened on the way to “work”  and back that  day  ended up being my days wages….paid in full!

winterbirds 038






The Camp, the Dogs and their People.

buc boat 035

Above is a photo of Terry’s camp on Lake Superior and the dog is in there somewhere!

Our friend Terry  Talo died this past winter.  He was a man who came to the camp north of our cottage on Lake Superior.   Terry  was a visitor/resident and caretaker of sorts, for the person who owns the property .

In the Upper Peninsula of Michigan “camps”, are the places referred to by people, when they are describing some special place, in which to get away and recharge the spirit.      It is usually more than a tent and less than a house, so as to keep it simple and keep the focus on relaxation.

We met Terry’s dogs before we met Terry, when one of them showed up in our yard, without a human attached.   Wanting to stay friendly…my husband Joe took the “stray dog” opportunity as a way to meet our new neighbor.   That is the short story of how  we became quick friends.

The longer story is how our lives became intertwined with Terry, his family members and various other characters in his life… and the dogs.  I remember being terrified, at first, when the charging canines would greet me.  I eventually learned of their innocent and harmless nature.  Subsequently,  it was impossible to ignore how precious Terry’s love was for the animals.  It was a sad day when one of the two dogs passed away.   However, Duke, the survivor, remained a companion to Terry until his death this winter.

That was another sad day, bringing to closure the era of our co mingled lives with Terry and the camp.   However, the memory of that era continues to enrich our lives as we go on.

We remember how our hearts were softened by  a person and his relationship with his dogs.  When I open the panty door there is still a half full box of dog biscuits  waiting there.  It really wasn’t Dukes favorite treat, but he was always eager to oblige our well intended offering.

Terry’s family  has directed memorial donations to the local humane society,, where one of the dogs had been adopted.   I  was delighted to know that they could use one of my fine art prints for a fundraiser.

Even though, the subjects of my art are, a little more on the “wild side”,  …the connection  between humans and animals is  a theme which remains the subject of my heart.

The print will be framed by Art of Framing in Marquette and be part of the silent auction fundraiser on April 25, 2015.

downies for an upper

Hot Baby DowniesMarch 2, 2015


…and I know that spring is near…the beginning of it.  The downy woodpeckers have been chasing around the bird feeder.  Along with a hoard of pine siskin, redpoles and the odd gold finches, the season progresses.

The miracle of hatch-lings is inevitable.  A welcome thought on days when spirits can be lower than the temperature.    A temporary  condition…non the less depressing!

I offer a sketch of downies, in the yard, for the  putting of a smile on your face…if you need one.  This is a drawing I did so many years ago in the spring of a year, when the fledglings were darting all over the backyard, landing in various poses and catching my attention for a while.  Full of life, they were…a life which had just come to them only weeks earlier.

Sometimes the art I have previously  produced will help with gently provoking myself through a rough spot  along the way.  It puts me back in touch with the flow of things.

I am reminded, by looking at the resilience of nature, of my own inner abilities to live with what the day brings and go forward.

With many good wishes.