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Sunday, 27 March 2016

Lots of Spring Critters at Birkdale Ravine

Gorgeous day, slight nip in the air but still and warmth touching our shoulders given by the bright sunlight. Just a perfect early Spring day for a walk.

The animals and birds must have had the same inclination because we were treated to quite a few exciting sightings today at the ravine near where we live.

First, the bird that prompted our disagreement later at home, until I was convinced lol! - a Winter Wren (not a House Wren as I felt it has to be).

We spotted a mink running along the bank on the opposite side from where we stood, watching the wren, in its reddish coat. So cute!

Not a great photographic opportunity, but we enjoyed the pleasure of spotting a Cooper's Hawk eating something, in a tree, before 2 squirrels barrelling down a tree right next to it scared it off. It did return to continue eating a bit later,

Lots of Robins out, Cardinals, and Song Sparrows were singing.

A real treat, and not something we've seen as close as we did, an Eastern Phoebe. We normally don't walk on the right side of the Community Centre when we exit the park, but we did this time, and were then lucky to be greeted by the cute bird, sitting on the fence near the town houses, then she popped closer to us in a small tree, affording me the opportunity for a pretty close capture!

The ravine is only a 10 minute walk from us, and is a beautiful area, often offering up quite a few generous sightings of migratory birds, local birds, and wild life. It's a very enjoyable walk.

Wednesday, 9 March 2016

My New Art Website

About 4 1/2 years ago, I deleted my art website. I wasn't going to be taking on commissions any more, and painting wasn't going too well suddenly anyway. It ended up that once I got tri-focals, the painting part began working again, though I'm rusty having come from painting 5 times a week at least previously, to roughly a few hours on weekends now.

Having said that though, I really am reluctant to take on commissions any more. I find that if I feel that I cannot complete them when family stuff and such comes up, high anxiety and irritability sets in, plus losing entire weekends to essentially "working" after working all week is not how I want to spend my 50s and 60s. So, unless it is a special request, I am going to be trying to keep my painting for personal use and enjoyment only. That way, I'm not tied to a deadline I thought I could meet with relatively low stress, only to find out as it draws closer, that I may not be able to because unforeseen things come up and I have to drop working on a commission the odd time.

However, I felt that if I want to enter any juried exhibitions, I need to have a stand alone art only website again. It basically displays my past pieces that I have images of. Some, taken with an old film point and shoot, are not the greatest, and I lost a whole CD full of ones I previously sold, I do have quite a few pieces documented.

My husband, who is very good with the new html and up to date CSS and all that stuff I don't know, as well as Bootstrap, built my site. It tests out error free and works perfectly on all devices :-) The only thing lacking is maybe some of the paintings :P lol!

I designed the layout, I wanted film strips that scrolled, and I wanted just small blurbs about each medium. It was difficult to recall all the past juried shows, accomplishments, associations I was affiliated with, etc., even though I have a good memory. Lots of that stuff I still have packed up in boxes. I have 4-5 newspaper articles that were written about me and my work, one was a supplement in the Sunday Sun in Toronto, by a woman who I think was named Ruth West, most were just local papers from the Durham Region area. Those I can't be sure of the exact dates, so I didn't bother putting in that info. Some I could double check still on line, though the info was a decade or more old in some cases. So, my bio basically consists of most things, and isn't too long. Who wants to read that stuff anyway lol! Looking at pictures is much more fun.


Tuesday, 8 March 2016

Tommy Thompson Winter Birding

Seeing such a beautiful weekend was coming along, we decided to make a trip to Tommy Thompson Park at the base of Leslie Street, to see what ducks and such we could spot. As well, it's always good to get a nice long 3+ hour hike in.

We didn't get to see much real close, but my little favourites were there, frolicking in the water, the Long Tailed Ducks. I love their sound. Not often do we spot the Cardinals out in the open, as they tend to be fairly chicken everywhere we go, where we see them. But, they were feasting on the dried red clusters on the wriggly Sumac trees. We saw a pair of Ravens fly by, they are such amazing, majestic birds, and with their dinosaur sounds.

There were 2 sort of new, and rare to us, sightings. We saw a Herring gull, a juvi, hunting fish, as well as the Great Black Backed Gull flying overhead near the west bridge area.

The light was pretty gorgeous, a weird sort of almost hazy atmospheric frosty look to it, which made for some beautiful landscape captures. I put on my light shield on the front of my lens, I never do that, but I thought that maybe I'll see what it does to cut some of the over brightness and too dark shadow issue.

One thing we noticed, which at first, though we logically knew it could not be, was this continuous tinkling almost peeping frog sound, which we thought may be the hundreds of ducks that were clustered, we heard it all the way along the edge of the water on the north side. It got louder as we neared the largest grouping of red headed ducks. When suddenly, we realized it was the broken pieces of ice, clinking together as the waves pushed against them. I grabbed a little video and although the wind sort of wrecks it a bit, the tinkling is audible.