Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Morning vultures

Two turkey vultures caught my eye when we went to our local duck pond this morning.  The top one has just landed and is getting his feet arranged just right.  The lower left is sunning.  They get damp during the night and need to dry their wings.  I love to see them sitting there, holding their wings out.  Also, when two were perched in the same old snag the shadow of the higher one's head happened to fall on the back of the lower one.

Monday, September 29, 2014

Magnolia Seed Pod by Linda C. Miller

I have been painting flora since 2008 and here is a new painting from one of our Fall treasures, the Magnolia grandiflora.  The red seeds are so striking and hang by a thin white thread!  I sat with my pod for the last two days while giving an art demonstration in Yorktown, Virginia.  It was such a joy to paint, especially as I added my darkest value on the seeds, any dried purple on my palette! 


  Happy Painting, Linda

  Linda C. Miller Artist Naturalist Instructor


Sunday, September 28, 2014

Smoky Moon

We're had enough rain to reduce the fire hazard, but smoke still hangs in the air from the wildfires that are still smoldering.  The smoke added a richness to the evening sky that almost glowed.

I painted this from memory.  I caught sight of the setting moon when we were driving back from the Oregon coast two days ago.  There was no opportunity to point it then, so I painted from memory.

These two trees are in the east corner of our lot, a cedar tree and a very tall, very old pine. I have counted 38 or 39 trees in our yard. Compare that to only one original tree left in our Kansas yard plus two trees we planted. This cedar tree was crammed full of cedar wax wing birds in the spring. Baby fox squirrels sometimes play in the tree house or sit on the top ladder step.

Saturday, September 27, 2014


When we moved here to central Texas, there was a wee wooden sign posted in one corner of our property reading "Lake Forest Wild Bird Sanctuary". It has proven to be fact!

At our small 1920 apartment building in Kansas, we saw lots of house sparrows and, rarely, an occasional blue jay or cardinal. A year or so ago an unknown raptor nested in our old elm tree, scaring away all other birds (except those silly, brave sparrows).

Here in the woods, we have identified over 30 types of birds in our yard in the past 7 months, many more in the neighborhood. And they keep on coming! Of course, when I chose to sketch as many as I could see on Thursday, none showed up except the constant hummingbirds . . . . We have both ruby-throated and black-chinned hummers.

(Who knew they actually SQUEAK like a dog's squeaky toy?!? I knew you could hear the "hum" of their wings but our hummers perch in a nearby crepe myrtle and squeak at us!)

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Just a branch in the water-Concetta Flore

A walk with some friends at a nature reserve managed by WWF. A hot, sticky day, the birds far on the other shore of the lagoon, only one telescope between all of us to observe the osprey - a rare sight in Italy- and other species like the spoonbill, various herons like the cattle egret, the great white and grey herons, little egret, and a common sandpiper. So I drew what caught my eye- movements of the water around a dead branch, hoping for a kingfisher to poise.

Saturday, September 20, 2014


Common Murres on their nests at Yakina Head Outstanding Natural Area -- one of my favorite places.  Dale and I spent two days at the murre colony last month .... I just posted the first of two blog posts about that wonderful place:  www.elvafieldnotes.blogspot.com