Lesser Goldfinch are common in our yard and have been the subject of many of my paintings. They almost always appear in flocks and it is fun to design a composition around a group of birds together.
I was inspired by the yellow warbers Dave and I saw a few days ago and also by the photos he took. My show titled ‘Birds and a Bee’ opens this week at Viewpoints Gallery, Los Altos, CA, and I have been experimenting adding bees to my bird paintings.
In the California county in which we live, Santa Clara County, there are well known migration paths used by passerine birds. These paths are usually creeks and small rivers that provide food and water to birds as they fly from as far as Alaska heading south to their boreal winter grounds ranging from Mexico to South America. The Yellow Warbler is one such species and every fall they appear reminding us that another northern hemisphere breeding season is ending.
Hooded Orioles have been nesting near our yard and visiting our feeders all summer. They needed to be painted.
My painting of a Black Phoebe was included in a book of poetry with the accompanying poem by
Patricia J. Machmiller-
of the soon-to-be groom
The Black Phoebe is a common flycatcher on the West Coast. It is easily found in and around the San Francisco-San Jose area all year. Most of the time when we are doing local birding we will see one or two them. They tend to use low spots from which to do their fly catching, rocks, fence posts and the like, flying off a perch, grabbing an insect and then usually returning to the same perch. It’s my observation that they like green grassy areas, perhaps because of the type of insects that lawns draw. Since the drought in California and home owners have converted to xerophytic gardens I am seeing less of this species where in the past they were common.
This was my first painting of an American Dipper which was inspired by a visit to Yosemite National Park five years ago. I’ve painted a few since then; I’m inspired every time we come across one in the Sierras.
It was such fun to come across a group of Pygmy Nuthatches on our trip to the Sierras last June. These tiny birds make me smile and needed to be part of a painting.
This is a paintings I’m just finishing up. House finches are common in our area and they are fun to work with in paintings. In this piece I played with them among eucalyptus leaves which also have reddish accents.
We can count on finding Great Horned Owls on our yearly winter trip to the Merced National Wildlife Refuge but this last winter we came across two together and the scene suggested this painting.
This is another painting inspired by a Bewick’s Wren.
Bewick’s Wren’s reside in our year round and I wonder how they feel when the orioles show up in the spring.
This is the third year in a row we have found Green-tailed Towhees among the flowering manzanita shrubs in the Sierras. I love the various greens and the way the orange cap of the towhee mirrors the orange in the manzanita branches.
A strange looking bird indeed. In the summer this species is common in the Sierra Nevada Mountain Range of California. It prefers relatively dry shrubby mountain slopes. Early in the breeding season they can be located by their unique song.
Last fall our neighborhood Cooper’s Hawk took to hanging out in the pomegranate tree where he could easily keep track of birds at the feeders.
It was a treat to run across a flock of cedar waxwings last Tuesday especially because it was a slow birding day. This flock was foraging in a flowering madrone tree.
The Blue-gray Gnatcher is a common bird in Central-Coastal California in the summer. It flits around in the brush wagging and lifting its tail which startles insects causing them to fly to become a tasty morsel for this bird. This photo is of a male because of the blue “V” on its forehead.
If lucky, you will encounter these birds nest building. They gather caterpillar and spider silk and use it to fasten fragments of lichens into a small thimble which becomes the nest. The nest looks like a bump on a tree’s branch and it’s impossible to know if it’s a nest unless you see an adult fly onto it.
Wilson’s Warblers arrive in the summer in California and it is a treat to find the first to appear.
This painting was inspired by yellow warblers feasting on wild cherries here in California in the late summer.
This was a painting I did last year after our trip to the Merced National Wildlife Refuge.