The Accidental Birdwatcher

The Accidental Birdwatcher

One sunny afternoon in the Autumn of 2006 I was painting in my studio (a.k.a. kitchen) when two doves alighted on the narrow ledge outside my window and began cooing.  I had lived in this city apartment for several years and this never happened before so I was curious. I observed them as they observed me.  They flew away after a while so I put some bread crumbs out on the ledge to see if they would come back the next day.  To my delight they did and made short work of the crumbs.  They returned each afternoon and I quickly ran out of crumbs.  So off to the pet supply store I went and purchased birdseed.  Not only did the two doves return, they brought several friends and relatives.  They began appearing in the morning as well so I distributed seeds early and late.

At first the doves all looked alike to me.  But as I continued to observe them, I became aware of their individual feather patterns and personalities.  One had more white tail feathers than the others.  Another had darker banding around the neck.  Some were rather aggressive and others waited their turn.  One young male was more interested in what was going on inside my apartment than eating the seeds.  He routinely hopped on the back of another bird and peered in to see what I was doing. One afternoon as I was in the kitchen (a.k.a. studio) preparing a chicken for roasting, they all simultaneously stopped eating and gave me the evil eye!  “Don’t worry”, I assured them, “You are not on the menu.”

I wondered who was training whom!  Was I teaching them to eat seeds on the window ledge or were they schooling me to provide a daily bird buffet?  Sometimes I would have as many as 30 doves all vying for position on the ledge, fighting over the seeds (very un-dove-like behaviour!). Occasionally there was so much wing-flapping and flying feathers I was forced to intercede and send the offenders to separate corners.

My Doves ACEO
“This ledge ain’t big enough for the both of us!”

During the Winter, if I wasn’t in the kitchen early enough in the morning offering seeds, they would sit on the ledge and nearby telephone lines making all sorts of noise, demanding their breakfast.  Some even began to tap their beaks on the window! They watched from the lines as I dusted the snow off of the ledge and then swooped in for their meal.

In the Spring several juncos and starlings visited and I was learning to recognize newcomers by their different calls. A few dozen sparrows began to sit on the lines and boldly challenged the doves for their share of seeds.  Strangely enough, the doves would give way to the sparrows but not to each other.  A male and female cardinal dropped by a few times; rather rare in that neighborhood.   A blue jay couple and even a woodpecker made a few appearances, also extremely rare.  Cardinal ACEO

 

 

 

Blue Jay and Woodpecker ACEO
In the Summer I grew herbs on the inside of the windowsill and the birds watched with interest.  My avian friends never failed to make me smile; a great way to start the day.  I really missed them when I moved away and felt bad that no one would feed them.

 

Dreaming of the Faerie King

Dreaming of the Faerie King
Dreaming of the Faerie King Fantasy Fine Art Print and Story

It was a lovely sunny Spring day. Too nice to stay indoors and do housework. A walk in the forest would be nice. Birds were chirping, the trees were just beginning to leaf out and here and there, flowers were bursting into bloom. She meandered about for quite some time, no particular direction in mind and found herself in an unfamiliar part of the forest. Perfect for exploring! The trees were closer together and it was a bit darker here. She could hear birds in the distance and then a chill mist enveloped her. She suddenly felt rather hungry and sleepy. And sat down on a log by a pond, leaning against a huge oak. She had never seen a pond in this forest before. Gazing up she saw a small waterfall, little glittering lights hovering about. The air became damp and heavy as she leaned against the tree, her eyes closing…. drifting…. drifting….

She dreamed of the sea and starry skies. She dreamed of a dragon with golden eyes. Then she dreamed of the Faerie King. So handsome and delightful was he as bowed low before her. So mesmerized she could not remember what one must never do when meeting the King of Faerie. She looked down and her housedress had turned into a ball gown. He asked her to dance. And away they waltzed. He offered her tea and cake. And then she did not awake, but stayed forever in his kingdom.

(Based on an actual event. One must never accept food or drink in the Land of Faerie if wishing to return to the mundane world. I did not accept the first time but should I meet him again….who knows?)

Four Fact Survey

My first week of blogging and I was tagged by AJ/WORDS from SONOBE (extremely entertaining!) to do the Four Fact Survey.  Thank you!

Four names people call me other than my real name:
Alas, the Mer language does not translate well and the English names cannot
be repeated in polite company

Four jobs that I have had:
Proofreader
Administrative Assistant
Cosmetics Salesperson
Chief Scapegoat for bosses with much less intelligence than myself

Four movies I have watched more than once:
Casablanca
Maltese Falcon
Gone With The Wind
all of the Marx Brothers

Four books/ authors I’d recommend:
Sir Arthur Conan Doyle
Agatha Christie
JK Rowling
Phillipa Gregory

Four places I have lived:
Atlantic Ocean (when in full mermaid mode)
the suburbs
one of the largest cities on earth
the middle of nowhere

Four places I have visited:
Tintagel, the birthplace of King Arthur
Hebrides Islands, Scotland
France
Egypt

Four things I’d rather be doing now:
traveling
relaxing on a beach
discovering a pirate’s hidden treasure
learning another language

Four foods I do not like:
uncooked sushi (go figure; a mermaid not liking raw fish)
tripe
pigs feet
lemon meringue pie

Four of my favourite foods:
ice cream
chocolate
shrimp
pancakes and walnuts with an overabundance of maple syrup ( I hope that doesn’t count as 3 foods!)

Four shows I watch:
Grimm
Masterpiece Classic
Masterpiece Mystery
Chopped

Four things I am looking forward to this year:
winning the lottery
traveling
creating more art
finish working on the bungalow

Four things I am always saying:
Good grief!
Good F—–g Grief! (when seriously annoyed)
Seriously? (when mildly annoyed)
WooHoo!

Full Moon Madness

Lady and Gargoyle Full Moon Madness Fine Art Print

She was told things would look better in the morning.  But as she paced the balcony bathed in full moonlight whilst conversing with the gargoyle, she had her doubts.

All phases of the moon have their myths and legends.  Some say people are more apt to go mad during the full moon.  And as everyone knows, werewolves appear during the full moon…..

Count Your Blessings and Smile :)

I was feeling rather down the other day worrying about things over which I had little control.  This commercial appeared on the TV and I couldn’t help but feel better! 🙂
I have no idea what the slack company does but they must have fun doing it!

Here’s the original version from George Formby, OBE, who was an English actor, singer-songwriter and comedian who became known to a worldwide audience through his films of the 1930s and 1940s.

How can you not smile now? 🙂

So Mermaids ARE real!

So Mermaids ARE real!

Amidst the raucous cheers of the Victoria and Albert Explorers Club, Alistair gave a jaunty salute and picked up his portmanteau. He quickly descended the iron rungs of the ladder into a curious round apparatus held fast by cables and pulleys to a specialized crane on the dock. His feet quickly touched the bottom of the gleaming copper and brass diving bell. His fellows on the dock pulled the ladder out of the bell, attached the hose which pumped compressed breathing gas into the copper chamber and closed the hatch with great fanfare. Experiencing a fleeting moment of claustrophobia in the cramped compartment, Alistair heard the sound of the air pump working and breathed normally once more. He quickly unpacked his case onto the small folding table, producing a flask of hot tea, linen-wrapped scone, small leather-bound notebook, sharpened pencils and his newest prized possession, a George Eastman portable Kodak. He had the camera specially shipped all the way from America for the purpose of this diving adventure and was the first in the Explorers Club to own one. It was the enlightened year of 1890 after all, and one must keep current with the latest scientific equipment!

He removed his jacket and sat down on the small camp chair, clasping the table as the diving bell was slowly lowered into the cold blue waters of the Atlantic. Pulling his pocket watch from his waistcoat, Alistair placed it on the table, opened his notebook, and with pencil at the ready peered through the larger of the two portholes. Tick, tick, tick, the sound of the watch reverberated in the small chamber. A few curious fish swam by; ordinary and not even worth photographing. However, he looked down for a moment to make certain the camera was prepared in the event something interesting did swim by.

Mermaid Observed from Diving Bell Fine Art Print and Story

When he looked back up he nearly jumped out of his skin! There, framed in the large porthole, peering in at him was the most amazing creature he had ever seen. Definitely female, she had pale luminous skin freckled with scales, very long wavy green hair the colour of seaweed, huge turquoise-coloured eyes. Her webbed hands were pressed upon the glass and he could see her fish-like tail from the smaller port hole. “So mermaids ARE real!” Alistair exclaimed aloud.

They stared at each other for what seemed like an eternity and then Alistair moved the camera closer to the edge of the table and pointed it directly at her. Her eyes opened wide and she looked so frightened that Alistair quickly covered the camera with his jacket to allay her fears. Again, they gazed at each other intently and Alistair slowly opened his notebook; if a photograph was out of the question he wanted a drawing of her at the very least. She watched his every move as he quickly sketched her likeness. He turned the book around so she could see the drawing. She was fascinated; then a mournful look changed her countenance as she gazed upward towards the ocean’s surface. Drat! Alistair instantly realized he unfortunately could never reveal his astounding discovery to anyone! The poor creature would be chased and harassed mercilessly in the pursuit of science. He closed the book and hid it under his jacket and smiled. She rewarded him with a beautiful smile of understanding and with a flip of her tail she swam away, glancing back once over her shoulder.

Alistair sat in dumbfounded silence for a few moments, his reverie interrupted by a school of anglerfish swimming by. He half-heartedly snapped a few photographs of them and whatever other fish floated by. Presently he heard a clanging sound and felt movement as the diving bell was slowly brought back to the surface. As he emerged from the bell, his club members were all shouting “What did you see?”. “Nothing very interesting; I photographed a few fish”, said Alistair. His fellow Explorers were unanimously crestfallen, but Alistair smiled secretly to himself….. 🙂