Wednesday, 28 March 2018

Little birds and more ....

I have a few more little birds for you today.

First a Saffron Finch; a small colourful bird from the tanager family.

Originally from South America the species has been introduced to Hawaii.

Below is an adult and a youngster.

"Mirror, mirror on the wall....."

Bath time for the kids.

They can often be seen foraging for seeds on the ground.

Very handsome birds, sadly I think they are also popular as caged birds.

One last look:

This is a House Sparrow or English Sparrow and was introduced to Hawaii from New Zealand in the 17 C. He looks to be striding purposefully somewhere.

And finally a Japanese White-eye, a tiny bird originally from South East Asia that was introduced to Hawaii early in the 20 C. 

Next here is a large bug I saw. If you hate insects scroll quickly through the next few pictures.

A Praying Mantis came for a visit:

It was easily 6 inches long and we noticed it on the railing of our lanai one evening.
Fascinating, but I didn't want to get too close.

Here is view from a different angle:


OK, you can open your eyes again now!

I have been busy painting this week and have two new watercolours to show you.

Neither photograph is very good, this one I had already framed (under glass) and didn't remove it from the frame to take a picture.
This is inspired by a photo I took in Lyon, France of an interior courtyard in an older part of the city.

"Le Chat Curieux"

"Basque Pathway"

Again not the best photo. This one was inspired by a photo I took on a walk up from the beach in southwestern France.


Sometimes I find something on YouTube that I just have to share.
Here is "Stairway to Heaven" flash mob style:

I wish I had been in that square, to see and hear it live.


Thanks for stopping by,

happy Wednesday, with whimsy,


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,