Nesting and fishing

We have a pair of phoebes working on a nest under the deck again. (Trying to work and watch for them to fly under the deck – which they won’t do when my three hooligans are out running around and chasing osprey and eagles out of our air space. For real.)

The second photo shows two osprey that will be nesting on a small island near our house once again. In late April/early May we see them flying over the house “empty-handed” and then returning to their nest with a stick to spruce up the nest.

The same windy night that I saw the osprey I also saw a pair of loons. It was windy and wavy (and I’d already stepped into the water up to my knees to avoid completely falling out of my kayak) but I got some photos – just not very good ones. The loons were bathing, which often involves a fair amount of hilarity (in my view).

No Mow May

Cold and windy today. Again. The calendar promises that spring is here and summer is coming. Any minute now we’ll be swatting black flies, and then running air conditioners (or box fans!) and starting up the lawn mowers and garden sprinklers. Not looking forward to mowing? Me neither. Skip the month of May, if you can get away with it. (Mind the risk of ticks!) Need an excuse not to mow? Easy. Check out the “No Mow May” movement. The idea is simple: let the bees have their dandelions. (Okay, it’s a tiny bit more complicated, but that’s the gist).

Singing to the sunset

This cardinal outdid himself tonight. Only our good friend the robin, who is evidently not having much luck on the dating scene, is out there singing louder and longer.

I’ve begun to hear the spring peepers, and I’ve seen the osprey begin to collect sticks to refurbish their nest. I’ve tried for shots of the osprey flying over with sticks in years past but never captured anything amazing. Maybe this year.

If Happy Little Bluebirds Fly……

Some believe that the bluebird is a symbol of joy and hope, or that good news will be arriving soon. Others think bluebirds represent a connection between the living and the dead.

Some Native American tribes consider the bluebird a spirit in animal form that symbolizes the dawn of a new day; others associate the friendly bird with the sun. The Iroquois believe that the bluebird is a harbinger of spring that fights off the evil demigod of winter, Tawiscaron.

According to folklore, many Native Americans hung dry gourds to entice bluebirds to nest near their settlements so they can enjoy their enchanting songs of happiness and hope. Just gazing upon one of the little flying cobalt creatures of contentment is said to bring joy. (Credit to for this information).

Today was the first time I have ever tried to photograph the Eastern Bluebird, which is a small North American migratory thrush.


Juvenile Fly Zone

Joy Harjo: “Eagle Poem”

To pray you open your whole self

To sky, to earth, to sun, to moon

To one whole voice that is you.

And know there is more

That you can’t see, can’t hear;

Can’t know except in moments

Steadily growing, and in languages

That aren’t always sound but other

Circles of motion.

Like eagle that Sunday morning

Over Salt River. Circled in blue sky

In wind, swept our hearts clean

With sacred wings.

We see you, see ourselves and know

That we must take the utmost care

And kindness in all things.

Breathe in, knowing we are made of

All this, and breathe, knowing

We are truly blessed because we

Were born, and die soon within a

True circle of motion,

Like eagle rounding out the morning

Inside us.

We pray that it will be done

In beauty.

In beauty.

Making the Ordinary Extraordinary

Many of the photos that are displayed on this blog are not photos I frame or mat for sale. Often the photos here are ones that I determined were not quite up to snuff to sell, but still good enough to share.

Sometimes my choices about what to print in hard copy are a matter of size constraints. For example, my photos of snapping turtles often need to be at least 16X20 or the image is cut off. Sometimes my choices are a matter of economics, as I am of course spending money on printing and framing items that may eventually live in my basement. I also have to judge what I think might interest people. My mother selected classic images – loons, cardinals, owls, fawns. I have a friend who loved a particular butterfly/flower image that did not interest me much. Another friend wanted one of my frog photos – on a 3×2 canvas. My youngest brother was particularly taken with a photo of painted turtles, almost certainly because we had two red-eared sliders growing up and the two species appear similar. Another friend was drawn to my starfish photo, and I’ve put it on a 16×20 canvas for him. Another friend wanted a 3×2 canvas of trees blanketed in fresh snow, with blue sky and sunlight behind. It has been in his office for at least three years. .

I find pictures of animals (owl, robin, phoebe, crow, osprey, seagull, heron) with food in their claws or beaks to be interesting, as we don’t often glimpse such things as we go about our days. I have about 8 different 3×2 canvases that rotate on the walls of my office depending on the season. Rock wall in autumn. Ice crystals on a winterberry bush. Popham, Reid, Katahdin, Moosehead. Great horned owl. Snapping turtle. Pileated woodpecker. Moonscapes. Landscapes. Four legs. Two wings. Hot-blooded and cold-blooded. Mountains and the coast. Forests and my backyard.

We are surrounded by the wonder of everyday creatures and the world they inhabit. I want to share that world with others. Yet I take pictures only for me. For the joy of it. For the peace. Photography is my mediation. When I am capturing an image, I am as focused as I once was hurtling down a hill on my bicycle. When I raise my camera to find my subject, I must force my breathing to be slow, steady, sometimes to stop so the camera doesn’t move. I do not have a tripod or a camouflage tent. My knees or a railing are my tripod. Sometimes I am shooting in a kayak, and I must time the wind and waves. I often shoot while I’m being spun in a slow circle. When I am taking photographs, my job, dogs, aches and fears recede for blissful moments.

I decided to place photos for sale not so that I can quit my “real” job. My goal, rather, is to share my images with anyone who might take a fancy to a particular shot, for whatever reason. My prices cover the cost of materials, but not much beyond that. Certainly not the time spent to take an image from the moment of capture to the point where it is ready for printing. Prices reflect the size of the photo as well as the format (matted only, framed, on canvas etc.) A matted 4×6 costs the same as a Big Mac with fries and a coke (about $8). Framed photos and canvases go for roughly $50 – $150. And if someone wants a particular photo but truly cannot afford it, we’ll figure it out.

Some of the photos available at The Art Walk Shop and Studio in Winthrop.
Every summer we watch an osprey nest. Look carefully for the smaller bird in each photo.
Young dove hiding.
Great horned.

American Robin

The past two days we’ve had a male robin in our backyard who has been singing his heart out from one tree top and then another. He is calling for a mate (the mating call is quite different from the sound of a robin defending territory.

The first two pictures below are from a previous summer (hence the grass). The bottom two pictures show lover boy at work.

For more on robins see

Gathering mud and grass for nest building.
Eating a snack.
Singing from a pine on a cloudy Sunday.
Singing this morning from the backyard tree line.


Awake in the early hours, creeping from coffee pot to computer, I spy a gift above the tree line that makes the weary day ahead less bitter: suspended above the melting lake, a nearly-full moon hangs, indifferent to the madness of humans below. I watch whisps of clouds caught in the air current, silent travelers buffeting the moon. A southerly breeze moves them up the Eastern seaboard toward Washington County and the Bay of Fundy beyond.

The night train, Old Faithful, has woken Moxie (our youngest Malinois) in the middle of the night again. After a trip to the backyard, we are in bed again, heads buried into pillows against the inevitability of morning. Moxie gives the household time to make some progress toward catching slumber where we left it before he wakes us again. The cause? A skein of geese slipstreaming through the night, sounding their return to familiar waters with raucous and nasal honks.

Mid-March is full upon us, and each day I hear new birdsong, see old friends back again. Geese. Red-winged blackbirds. Grackles. Eastern bluebirds. The birds that have over-wintered are becoming more active, focused on mating and nest building. I look forward to seeing who claims the nest under the deck this year – phoebes or robins.