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Posts Tagged ‘bird’

Swimming Penguin

_MG_0211Swimming Penguin – 17″l x 9″w x 9 1/4″ t – White Pine, Leather, Found Wood, Steel, Composite Croquet Ball – Available Email Here.

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Songbirds

Four more pieces shipping the The Artisan’s Bench tomorrow. These simple pieces look great when combined with others.

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_MG_0014I’ve been stocking The Artisan’s Bench in Brighton, Michigan with a very complete representation of my work. I’ve been sending off groups of pieces as they are finished. The gallery is as enthusiastic as I am about including 50 Little Birds.

The pieces in the photo on the left have arrived at the gallery and are available for purchase.

 

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Click here to watch .

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More Baltimore Orioles

Available here.

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The first of three are completed.

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Orioles and Oranges

I’ve been out of the studio for the last few weeks. We had an illness in the family that came before carving and puttering. Health has improved and I was able to spend quite a few hours at my bench working on a trio of Baltimore orioles on orange halves. Click on photos for captions.

One of these is sold. The others will be available this week.

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photo 1Most of my experiences with ovenbirds happened before I canoed the Northern Forest Canoe Trail. My trail experiences are limited to a few fleeting glimpses and calls from trees.

My training for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail was multi-faceted. I trained physically by hiking, paddling, lining and poling and spent many weekends in the forest testing myself and equipment.

Knowing that I would be paddling in the summer, when the forest canopy would make sighting many forest birds impossible, I spent a great deal of time ear training.

For ear training I used two apps, iBird Pro and Larkwire Birdsong Pro. The iBird app is a huge field guide complete with descriptions, photos, paintings and recorded calls. All birds are cross referenced with birds with similar features or calls. I generally use this app, on my iPhone, to confirm (or not) when I am not certain of a call that I have heard. Larkwire Birdsong is a ear training method that uses recording, photos, drills and games to facilitate learning and differentiating calls.

A quick note – There are birders that use these calls to draw birds out of cover to be more clearly observed. There is are photo 2two camps on this practice — those that believe the practice is justified and those that believe the practice is disruptive and has a negative impact and causing undue anxiety in birds.

On an early training hike, I was camped in Shades State Park in west central Indiana. I set up camp, cooked on a Sve 123, ate dinner and sat down with an iPad to review and practice birding by ear. I had forgotten my earphones. Thoughtlessly I turned the volume low and accessed a recording of an ovenbird that I thought that I had heard earlier.

“Teacher-teacher-teacher-teacher” the recording played confirming what I had thought I had heard.

I never expected what happened next. The trees and brush around me exploded with agitated ovenbirds.

For several minutes, several birds, flitted across the open campsite scolding and buzzing angrily.

As quickly as the assault had begun, the forest resumed its quiet order. The deserved rebuke was over. Earphones were added to my packing list for the Northern Forest Canoe Trail.

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At Union Falls, New York, a large pond (of the same name) spills over a dam and tumbles over the rocks and ledges to make a fast and wild plunge to Lake Champlain. This stretch of river is no match for my skills or for my wood and canvas canoe. It’s here that I elected to strap the wheels to the boat and hunker down for a long portage.

 

 From a small park the road drops down to cross the river adjacent to the ancient dam and powerhouse. The iron bridge, was enveloped in spray from the dam and waterfalls. Turning right onto the Casey Road I found myself plunged into another time and place. 

This was the time and place I sought. This was rural Maine — the rural Maine of my childhood.

Here the forest is a mix of beech, maple, birch, pine and spruce. The narrow lane, paved in macadam, was lined in ancient loose stone walls. In the margins of the road–where sunlight filtered through the overhanging trees–wild flowers grew. These were the same windflowers my sister and I would gather on those ancient Maine roads many years ago. I expected to see a familiar fox or pheasant dart across the road ahead if me.

 

 My pleasant walk was interrupted. Not by a fox or a pheasant, but by something completely alien to me.

I was attacked by a deranged two-legged raccoon. That was my first thought as a chattering brown and black striped animal exploded from the underbrush.

Before I had time to gather my thoughts into something rational, the animal slowed and assumed a posture that I had often studied in my field guides. I was under attack by a ruffed grouse. 

For the next five minutes the bird moved about me and the boat, posturing and blustering. 

I realized his bird was protecting a nest or offspring, so I moved along. When I last saw him, he was sitting on a shoulder high branch sending me along my way.

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 The Blackburnian warbler has been suggested as a carving subject many times. A quick glance at any field guide confirms that it is a great candidate. The contrast between the blacks and yellows and oranges makes this bird one of North America’s most beautiful warblers. 

The striking paintings in my Sibley and Peterson field guides moved me, but until I have seen or heard or experienced a bird it is out-of-bounds to carve.

 

 That all changed on June 22, 2014. Had just completed a very difficult carry around Raquette Falls in the Adirondacks. I expected to camp at the falls, but drawing from some deep reservoir — that I would get to know better over the next few weeks — I loaded my boat and pushed on to a lean-to near Stony Creek.

Here I collapsed. I unloaded my gear into the lean-to and pulled the boat ashore. I sat amongst the gear and fell into a deep sleep.

 

 I awoke to the sound of a bird sifting through the leaf litter in front of the lean-to. I turned my head to see a Blackburnian Warbler nearby. Without disturbing him I watched for several minutes as he searched for a late afternoon meal.

This bird is carved from white pine, has brass tack eyes and steel wire legs. The base is made from antique wood reclaimed from crates and a white birch twig gathered on my canoe trip.  4 1/2″ l x 3″ w x 5 1/4″ t.

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