It looked like the perfect sunny day to till the garden but after several days of rain here in Rangeley the soil was just too soupy! So I decided to do some work potting flowers down by my storage shed and old wood pile. While I was working I saw what I thought was a crow fly into the trees behind the wood pile. But then a pileated woodpecker popped up and started foraging for bugs!
This 16" bird is majestic! Almost pre-historic in appearance. A noisy beast too. Always commands one's attention. I usually stop everything when I hear or see a pileated woodpecker. And this one was just a few feet away. So I grabbed my camera, took a few shots and he was gone.
On a walk in the area recently I saw the work of another, or maybe the same, pileated woodpecker.
David Attenborough, in his book The Life of Birds wrote:
"Woodpeckers hunt for insects which are beyond the reach of the tree creeper, beneath the bark and even in the wood below. The implements they use are not tweezers but chisels. A blow from a woodpecker's bills strikes a tree at about 25 miles an hour and does so with such force that the two mandibles of its beak would fly apart were they not, at that moment, held together by a special locking device. The shock of the blow is so great that if it travelled directly to the brain, the bird would be knocked unconscious".
Amazing what happens in our own back yard!
I was wearing a bright red shirt today when several hummingbirds started dive-bombing me! Their sweet little feeder was only a few feet away from the deck but I guess I looked like a much bigger flower! Ironically, I had just finished the hummingbird and hibiscus painting this morning and was enjoying lunch on the deck.
Other birds are coming around now too. Yesterday I had visits from a Northern Parula and several Black-Throated Green Warblers along with the more frequent visitors including Goldfinches, Chickadees, Juncos, Purple Finches and others. Its good to be back in Maine watching spring break out. Its a busy time...the garden got tilled and the lawn mower went in for a tune-up today. And I'm getting ready for the spring and summer shows with new paintings.... including the Ruby-Throated Hummingbird. Check out the Show schedule for upcoming shows....starting on Memorial Day weekend in Meredith, NH. Hope to see you there!
I think most of the snowbirds waited a bit before going back north this year. Its been a hard winter. I've been driving crowded highways for three days now in early May but am about to take a break in Boston for a few days before heading home to Rangeley, ME.
...by early March I had settled into a lovely little bungalow in the town of Mount Dora, FL. It was a good central Florida location north of Orlando for my shows and only about about an hour or so from where I grew up... in the 1950's! I thought it would be a good base for exploring some of the places my family used to visit when I was young. Our family used to go on "outings" and "retreats" to many of the fresh water springs in Florida ... Silver Springs, Silver Glen, Alexander Springs, Juniper Springs. I wanted to rekindle some of those memories.
Luckily I was able to do that when my son visited from LA.
I met a lot of great folks in Mount Dora, managed to get a few paintings done and had shows in Brooksville, Sarasota, Lakeland and The Villages while staying there. But then I moved back to the west coast of FL to Dunedin and loved being back there. Shows in Siesta Key, St. Pete Beach and Stuart rounded out the winter season.
After the Stuart show I was ready to head north! I caught a Sox/Rays game and a Dylan concert before leaving but it was 93 degrees out and I was ready to chill out in Maine for the spring!
So after a quick stop with family in Georgia I headed north...caught some nice blooms in Boston and at 5:30 AM on May 8th, soon after arriving in Rangeley, it was Ice Out! Spring has sprung!
And I can't believe that just as I was finishing up this note, I heard the loons on Rangeley Lake! They made it back OK too!
Hope to see you at the Spring and Summer shows!
This page is where I put stuff that doesn't fit elsewhere.... news, photos, an occassional idea, work in process, etc.