Tag Archives: bird

Rafters at Okere Falls

New Zealand – Okere Falls & Maori wood carvers

Before I get too far ahead, on our way to Cathedral Cove, here’s a cute New Zealand quail who walked along with us for a bit. Many NZ birds have little or no fear of humans, and some have even evolved to lose the ability to fly. New Zealand quail


We traveled quite a bit on the following day. In the morning, we passed by kiwi and avocado orchards, sustainably harvested tree farms, and stopped to pick up lunch in an old gold mining town, Waihi.

Old pumphouse in Waihi

Old pumphouse in Waihi

From there, we stopped near a river to enjoy our lunch, and then on to Okere Falls.  I had trouble managing the colors and trying to sketch the water, so I did this quick color layout for reference on site. Quick sketch Okere Falls We were lucky to see several rafts pass by, and sketching the rafters was more my speed than water, as you can see here, sketched from my photo. Rafters at Okere Falls

Later we stopped at Tikitapu (Blue Lake), a very serene place to take out our paints. Finally, we went to see two Maori wood carvers, where they work, their tools and how they decide what to carve. We then enjoyed a home cooked dinner with them, very delicious and a great end to a busy day!

Maori wood carving tools

Maori wood carving tools.

Photos of Maori wood carvings

Photos of Maori wood carvings

Maori sketches for wood carvings

Maori sketches for wood carvings


Great horned owlet

I follow our local Chenango Valley State Park on FB, and they recently posted a photo of a great horned owl and baby owlet. I’ve already gone there several times to check out the eagles, which are supposed to have an egg hatched recently.  So it wasn’t a matter of ‘if’ I was going to see the owls, but when!

Last Saturday, I got ther early, by 10am.  I went first to see the eagles nest, and met a runner who also stopped to look at the nest. I asked her if she knew where the owls were, and she did not.

So I took a walk, and on my return, I ran into a birder.  How could I tell? It would be the big binoculars and the cap that had a black bird and the words “RAVEN LUNATIC”. Easy to spot!  She gave me a detailed description of how to find the owls, and off I went.  Funny thing, on my way, the runner came back to find me, because she had also found the owls!  Raven lunatic cap

They were just sitting on a branch, the owlet covered in down, almost leaning on the mom. I got several photos and returned later with Jamey, who got me started on the whole eagle spotting.  It was only fair to share the owls with him!

Great horned owl and owlet

Great horned owl and owlet

Going places

Following my wonderful travels last year, I got a little blue, thinking about an entire winter in the cold and snow. So I started making travel plans for this year!  Definitely lifted my spirits!

First I found a hiking club, with local “lite” hikes of 2-4 miles, that help keep me active.

Next, I planned a visit to Acadia Park in Maine.  It is a perfect place to enjoy the wilderness, without going too wild, or too far from civilization.  My rental is called The Bird Nest, and it’s away from the more popular areas, close to trails and close to local stores.

Another event I found is called Trek and Sketch, which includes my favorite pastimes, hiking and sketching, and, even better, it will be in the hills/ mountains in the south of France. Ahh, the perfect place to be, and a great way to enjoy it!

These will require an updating of my equipment, okay, maybe just an excuse to get some new stuff.  A new Osprey daypack comes with so many attachments that I may require assistance to make the best use of them!  Osprey backpack

And, for the very short hikes, an Eddie Bauer cross shoulder pack. Eddie Bauer shoulder bag

As I’m writing this, we are getting yet more snow, which I don’t mind, but…it will be much nicer when spring arrives.  I was excited about seeing a cardinal today, until I realized they don’t migrate, so he’s been here all winter. I need to see a robin!  Cardinal sketch

Embracing the Rooster

According to Chinese tradition, 2016 is the year of the Burning Monkey, and it certainly could be described as that.
For me, 2016 has been a year of both ups and downs.  I don’t want to be negative or wish away the remaining days, but I am ready to welcome 2017 with open arms!
Let’s say hello to 2017, the Year of the Rooster.

2017 The Year of the Rooster

2017 The Year of the Rooster