Friday, February 18, 2011 a hawk

Do you see the hawk on the rock?
 These photos were taken at Fort Hill yesterday and I thought it would be fun to show how easy it is to miss something as big as a hawk....the bird fits into the stone wall profile pretty well.
 Here is a picture from a different angle using my zoom....
 And here it is again, in silhouette.
 This is the same young red tail but this time it is perched on the cedar. People walk right by big birds in trees all the time....
The hawk flew off shortly after this photo was taken and landed in the field nearby where once again, it was well enough camouflaged that quite a few people walked right on by without seeing it....

The moral of this story is....check out those tree tops and scan the landscape for odd shapes!

Thursday, February 17, 2011

Eastern Meadowlarks

When I was a child one of the birds that totally captured my imagination was a meadowlark. I had seen one sitting on a post singing when I was quite young and from then on I was hooked. I looked for them in every field I saw. Actually, I still do.
 With the demise of farmlands and meadows the meadowlark is not as easy to find as it once was but there are still places on the Cape where you can find them regularly and easily. One of the best spots every winter and spring is Fort Hill in Eastham and while waiting to meet a friend today I spotted one fly into the field near the upper parking lot.
 It was soon joined by others and then there were 10 in all. The top picture was actually the last one I took as the birds spooked and took to a tree. In the middle picture you can see the trademark yellow breast with a black v bib on the bird on the right. Check out the bird in the center to see the tell tale white patches on either side of the tail--sometimes that is the first indicator you will see.....
Here are a few more pictures--the quality isn't great--they were pretty far away--but you can still see the yellow tint on the breast of the one in the middle. If you would like to know more about these lovely birds please check them out here.

If you have had a chance to get out today you know what an awesome day it has been.

Wednesday, February 16, 2011

Some Fun Nature Programs to check out....

There are a lot of great nature programs on the Cape all winter long. Many of them are free or very affordable. I know I'll miss something so if you know of a program I should add, please feel free to contact me.

If you want to know where to find and see owls and otters, following Ian Ives, sanctuary director for the mid and upper Cape Audubon sanctuaries, is always fun and informative. He is leading a program at Ashumet this Friday and you can get more information here.

The National Marine Life Center in Buzzards Bay will be hosting a family program, "For the Love of Turtles" on this coming Saturday. They will also have activities during school vacation week. Scroll down through the website to see the calendar here.

The Cape Cod Museum of Natural History has free family programs for members (minimal cost for non members) at 1 p.m. all through school vacation next week as well. For more info, click here.

And of course there is Wellfleet Bay Wildlife Sanctuary and there are always fun programs going on there as well.

If you are in the Sandwich area, don't forget the Thornton Burgess Society and the Green Briar Nature Center. They are also running special programs for school vacation as well as adult programs. Check their website for specific information here.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

House finches

When I was a kid we actually had more purple finches than house finches on the Cape or at least where I was on the mid-Cape. These days the house finches are far more plentiful and have adapted well to suburban life. Like the house sparrow and the starling, the house finch is a transplant, not a native. Unlike the former two birds house finches are generally well liked by back yard bird feeders, most likely due to their lively song and generally pleasant dispositions and personalities.
House finches tend to travel and feed in groups. This male was seen with a flock of about a dozen other house finches in the bushes around the Coast Guard Beach parking lot. You can find lots more information about house finches and also see the similarities between them and other finches by clicking here.

Friday, February 11, 2011

Baby, it's cold outside!

Did you know you can tell the temperature by looking at the way the rhododendron leaves are curled? Rhododendrons are evergreens but that doesn't mean they love the cold weather. They can tolerate it but have learned to adjust by curling their leaves. The tighter the curl, the colder the temperature. These leaves are telling you it is under 20 F. Brrrrrrr... You can get lots more information here.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

And a new blog....

If you would like to know more about my process, please join me at my new blog as well. I no longer have my old Mary Richmond Design blog. This will fill some of what that did but will also be more specific in terms of art, writing, rambling and so on...

Please come on over to Of drawing and birds, dogs and words....

I'm back!

The view from Coast Guard Beach this week....
Walking the dogs with a friend at First Encounter (and yes, we did bring our little bags and clean up what was necessary ;-)
The rock walls at Fort Hill are always evocative, especially in winter...

Thanks for your patience, if in fact you still check in. It was a long summer and a longer fall as I dealt with various health and personal issues. But I am back!

I've had a lot of time to think over what I want to do with this blog, the website, etc. and for now I am going to change it up a bit and add some of my musings and sketches as well as photos and reports of what is going on out there in nature on Cape Cod.

If you have been following this in a classroom you should still find the content appropriate.

Cape Cod Art and Nature is not a business or a non-profit. I had thoughts about making it both or one or the other but for now it is just a name I am writing and drawing and teaching under. I hope you come back soon and enjoy the postings.