Wednesday, 21 March 2018

Watch the birdies

There are many birds in Hawaii, some are known for their striking appearance and some not.

Red Crested Cardinal:

The Red-crested Cardinal is a good looking bird, it has a red head and crest and oddly is not really a cardinal, it is in fact a tanager. (I have also heard it referred to as a Brazilian Cardinal.)

It is found in tropical and sub tropical areas of South America but it has also been introduced to Hawaii.

The Red Crested Cardinal's diet includes seeds, fruit and insects.
In all my observations it was eating a pulpy substance from Bird of Paradise type flowers.

Below it is scooping something from a petal, and further below you will see it has found its meal. 

 Below is a youngster. A chubby little thing and it doesn't have the distinctive colour of the adult. It seemed to be foraging for seeds in the grass, but was also begging crumbs from the tourists at an outdoor eating area.

The adult bird was watching from a short distance away.

Grey Francolin:

Here is another bird, this one a Grey Francolin.
I have only seen it on a few occasions, normally it is heard but not seen.
It has a very distinctive call, I won't call it a song.
It is very well camouflaged in dry scrubby areas but easy to see on this patch of grass.

Originally from southern parts of Asia it has also been introduced to Hawaii. It is similar to a partridge, bigger than a Quail and smaller than a chicken and a bit drab.

To my surprise a pair walked along the wall just below our lanai when I had my camera handy.

So what do they sound like?
Here is a video I took in Hawaii:

It is a loud, shrill call, very distinctive and usually heard early in the morning when most of us are still trying to sleep.


Here is a painting I completed this week:
It is a poured watercolour that I named "Noon Shadows":

I finished another painting this week but unfortunately I framed it without photographing it.
I will share the image with you at a later time.

that is all I have for you today,

happy Wednesday, with whimsy,


Wednesday, 7 March 2018

A little bit of sunshine

I know I haven't published a blog for a long time, but here goes:

Geckos are small colourful lizards found in tropical countries.

They seem to smile and their antics can be quite hilarious.

My sketch below:

They are usually nocturnal creatures, but on my recent trip to Hawaii I saw lots that were active during the daytime.

They bask in the early morning sunshine, but are wary of movement close by and alert for the presence of the resident cats.

I don't know the name of this tree but the flowers are very popular with small birds and if you look carefully you will also see at least two geckos:

When I took this picture I didn't realise the geckos were on the flower; it was when I reviewed my pictures that I spotted them. I think it is the nectar that attracts them, they also eat fruit, small insects and worms.

Here is a larger picture:

And one more:

These gekkos are bright greens with red markings, they stand out against the side of the building but blend into the foliage very well.

Here is a gecko napping in the afternoon sun, one eye a little bit open, just in case.

The long tail helps it balance but it also has small "hooks" on its toes that act like suction cups and allow it to walk (cling) almost anywhere. They are quite adept at running across the ceiling.

So I had become accustomed to seeing them almost anywhere.

one afternoon after a brief cloudburst I returned to our rental car and looked up to see a gecko on my windscreen licking up the raindrops. 
I gawked for some time before I thought of getting out my phone to record the performance.

Island life is relaxing and there was no rush, so I let the gecko "finish" cleaning up the windscreen and move on before I started the car with a big grin on my face.

Here is my video, "Hawaiian Windscreen Wiper":

Editing this was a real challenge, but I am happy with how it turned out.


Here are two recent watercolour paintings:

Evening Kayaks:

"Lantern among the Ferns":

That's all I have for you today, happy Wednesday,

with whimsy,


Wednesday, 16 August 2017

Problems solved or losing the battle?

In my last blog I think I mentioned that I had been having trouble with my old computer, well I  made the decision to not only get a new one but also to switch to a Mac.

Problems solved ..... well not really, just a whole new set of problems and challenges. I have had an iPad for years, how much different could an iMac be??? Well, very, very different it turns out.

Why don't computers come with manuals these days??? When I asked this question at the Apple Store I was told to sign up for an Apple class and/or go to YouTube for answers. I did sign up for a class and I did learn a few things before the class was hijacked by someone incensed because her mail wouldn't do what she wanted. So is YouTube the answer... actually it is. I found some great free classes offered by David A Cox at Tech Talk America.

One problem I had was that after I had transferred my photos from my old computer to the iMac I noticed that for some reason I had two or even three copies of almost every picture, no idea why this happened. I looked online and apparently I was not alone, there were pages of forums and videos addressing this problem. I tried a free app to resolve the problem, no luck, ended up having to download a duplicate finder online that cost me about $30. Why should I have to pay to fix a known problem? Why didn't I go through manually and delete the duplicates, well it turned out there were over 11,000 of them.

I am finally getting used to the computer and winning most of the battles now.

So for a change from my new computer woes, I go outside; after all the good weather and diligent watering the garden is producing all kinds of great fruit and vegetables.

But it turns out that the critters seem to like what I am growing too. Bites out of tomatoes, beans and strawberries and entire branches of raspberries eaten. But by far the worst "theft" has been from the fig trees.

I love figs and look forward to the crop: we have Italian Honey (green) and Dessert King (red) Figs this year. I lost most of the first crop of green figs in a wind and rain storm in the early spring but the red figs grew really well. We had our first figs and they were wonderful then the remainder of the figs started disappearing.

The critters were getting more figs than we were, so I put netting over my fig trees, problem solved?

Well, no. The first couple of days that the netting was on the trees, we witnesses a couple of daring daylight robberies and chased the culprits away. But since then...

Have you seen these suspects:

Wanted for:

break and enter,
theft (under $500)
disturbing the peace

Warning hide your food!

 It's enough to try the patience of an ....

You guessed it the critters have gotten almost all the figs, I definitely lost that battle.


So I have finally managed to load my pictures, sort them, learn to use the editor and get the blog to work, sigh. Next, if I am feeling brave, maybe I'll try to edit movies with iMovie.

😅 😂 🤣 😜 😥

I have not had time for much painting, just these two:

 "Purple Clematis":

and "West Coast Sunset":

That is all for this week, happy Wednesday, with whimsy,


Wednesday, 5 July 2017


It is summer and we have plenty of sunshine, which leads to plenty of flowers,

plenty of fruit,

(Yes I love raspberries and the garden is producing plenty this year.)

and vegetables.

(these are Japanese cucumbers-delicious)

(lots of green tomatoes promise a good yield later in the summer)

I have been busy keeping the garden watered but I have also been busy in the studio.
First, great news, not only did my painting "Watchful" win an award at the Delta Artists' Guild "Oil and Water Show" but it also sold!
Here is another look at "Watchful":
Here is a  painting of a bearded iris that I call "Blue Beard":
"Seagull over English Bay":

"Canada Day Crow":
"Stone Bridge":

"Island Sunset":

Also having plenty of problems with my old computer - time for a change!
Not surprisingly I have been "plenty" busy!
That's all for this week,
happy Wednesday, with whimsy,