Area birders have been flocking to Wallkill for the past ten days, hoping for a glimpse of a rare visitor to New York– a Gyrfalcon, normally only seen in the Arctic. Stephen and I went yesterday and were privileged to see, photograph, and sketch this new bird for us, along with many other enthusiastic birders.
You can click on the images to see them big enough to read my notes about our visit to this bird and facts about Gyrfalcons in general.
Gyrfalcon in Wallkill

I did quick sketches in the field, then added to them later from Stephen’s photos.

Wallkill Gyrfalcon


Common Redpoll

Yesterday I saw a Common Redpoll at our feeders, a bird I’ve been watching for for several weeks now. We haven’t seen them often, but a bit over two years ago we had several here over a period of a few days. People in the Waterman Bird Club have been watching for them, and yesterday several of us all had them visiting our feeders for the first time this year. It must be their week to arrive in Dutchess County.

Redpolls live in the arctic and only migrate south irregularly. They are well adapted for cold weather and even tunnel into the snow to stay warm! The bird yesterday was only here briefly, but when we had our Redpoll visitors two years ago, they stuck around long enough for me to sketch them.

You can click on the images to see them large enough to read the notes.



Six Sweet Pounds of Purr and Fur

A paper grocery bag scuttles across my studio floor, a couple of inches of fluff moving side to side behind it like a furry rudder. Suddenly a brownish striped and spotted form darts out from beneath the bag, then turns and leaps into it, smacking the back of the bag with a crinkly thump. Acadia has come to live with us.

After extensive (some might say obsessive) searching on and, and several lengthy interviews with rescues about various cats, I came upon “Lisa” and fell in love with her sweet face and relaxed body language. After another careful interview, I met “Lisa,” who decided she was home and let me know that, of the names I was considering, Acadia was the one that would fit her. Acadia is probably a bit over a year old, so I’m designating November 28, 2013 as her birthday– Thanksgiving Day, because I am so thankful for her. 
I knew I’d missed having a cat since Silver died a year and a half ago, but I didn’t realize how much until Acadia moved in eight days ago. There’s a saying by Roger Caras, “Dogs are not our whole life, but they make our life whole.” I know many cat lovers would say the same about cats. I’m not sure I’d put it quite that way, since I believe it is God who makes my life whole, but I do believe that He uses dogs and cats to help many of us experience His love that makes our lives whole. I know that’s how it works for me. I’ve had a cat-shaped emptiness in my heart and lap for too long, and this past week I have often had tears of gratitude and joy at having that emptiness so warmly filled. I’ve been filling my journal with sketches of Acadia, and I look forward to many years of sketching this beautiful creature while she purrs on my lap or scampers around our home.