Unknown Fancies

With the wings of the birds, my spirit joyfully flies over unknown fancies everywhere.

Paramahansa Yogananda

I’m headed to Washington today! We’re spending a week on Vashon Island — hoping to find some cool wildlife, eat some good food and explore lots of new places. We’ll be traveling via the Coast Starlight train and I’m looking forward to being able to watch the landscape shift and change as we make our way northward. If all goes well, I’ll try and share a few pics and stories from my travels while I’m away…

Meanwhile, I was inspired on my last couple of walks through the canyon to capture some images of birds flying away from their perch. (I’m such a sucker for metaphor!) Be sure to click on the images to see a close-up of the bird on the wing!

Northern Flicker

Northern Flicker (Colaptes auratus)

Cassin's Kingbirds

Cassin’s Kingbirds (Tyrannus vociferans)
*Look closely at the clickable larger image —
Just in front of the bird, you can actually see the insect it’s about to nab. How awesome is that?!*

American Kestrel

American Kestrel (Falco sparverius)

Acorn Woodpecker

Acorn Woodpecker (Melanerpes formicivorus)
*Notice the acorn in its bill — they cache them in all the telephone poles around our place… and in the trees… and in pretty much any other place that looks like it will fit an acorn nicely. 🙂*


Harsi / February 27, 2011 / birds, quotations / 8 Comments

Canyon Art Walk

On my regular evening walk yesterday, I came upon these two wonderful scenes…

mule deer self-portraitMule Deer self-portrait?
Maybe it’s just me, but I think these hoof tracks really look like a deer face (well, either that, or a rabbit). Actually, the “ears” are where the two toes made an imprint, but it looks a bit different than the normal deer tracks I see. I gather that is because the cloven hoof is capable of spreading apart when it’s muddy (and it has been muddy!) or when the deer is running, in order to gain more traction. The “eyes” are actually dewclaw marks, which often don’t leave an imprint at all because they are located higher on the deer’s leg. But, again, because it’s been muddy they are showing up very clearly. For those who’ve never had the opportunity to view a Mule Deer dewclaw — be sure to click on the image above to see a close-up photo.

great horned owl pollockJackson Pollock in progress?
OK, some of you may be put off by this image. Sorry. I see the beauty in everything — even poop. This colorful spattering is the work of one (or possibly both) of the Great Horned Owl pair that reside near our home. The large Eucalyptus branch that arches overhead must be a favorite perching spot of theirs at night. It’s difficult to see in this photo, but there were actually several recently regurgitated pellets in the mix as well. Be sure to click on the image for a bonus photo of one of the potential artists! *grin*

Harsi / February 23, 2011 / birds, mammals, tracks / 6 Comments

Bubo in Black-and-White

great horned owl on pine tree


There is a resident breeding pair of Great Horned Owls (Bubo virginianus) living right near our cabin. Over the years, this has afforded me wonderful opportunities to observe them up close and the unsurpassed thrill of watching them raise their chicks. Their hooting calls are often the last thing I hear as I drift off to sleep… “gratitude” doesn’t seem like a big enough word to express how I feel in those moments.

I wanted to share these special birds, so I selected some of my favorite photos and created this series by applying the Stamp filter in Photoshop. The finished product is simplistic, but hopefully effective in conveying their endearing personalities.


great horned owl on eucalyptus

Roosting on a eucalyptus branch.
(Many of the trees in the area were burned by wildfire which gives them a bare, but interesting artistic quality.)

juvenile great horned owl

This is one of the newly fledged juveniles — notice the almost non-existent ear tufts! (Their coloration and general shape at this age reminds me of toasted marshmallows. *grin*)


great horned owl on cypress

Perched on a burned cypress…
(I loved this tree, and so did the owls. Even though it had long ceased to be a living tree and was leaning at a rakish angle, it provided a good look-out spot for many birds and squirrels. I was sad when some high winds finally toppled it.


Harsi / February 11, 2011 / artwork, birds / 6 Comments