Wednesday, February 2, 2022

My Brushes with Nature


1/28/22 Mt. Rainier from Maple Leaf Park

12/14/21 flicker
As an urban dweller, I don’t have as many brushes with wildlife as some suburban friends do, but I’m grateful to still have some backyard exposure to nature. This winter has been so cold that we’ve been hanging suet out for the birds instead of seeds. One feeder has a cage-like structure around it that the smaller birds can hop into to get to the suet, while larger birds hang onto the outer “cage.” Our primary diners are dark-eyed juncos, but we see occasional flickers, too.

On one recent occasion, we saw a male downy woodpecker for the first time. Although much larger than juncos, he was small enough to fit inside the “cage,” hammering away at the suet when I caught him with my sketchbook.

Our neighborhood squirrel also likes suet, it turns out, but to get any, it has to perform crazy acrobatic stunts. Although I’m not in the business of feeding squirrels, its performances are so entertaining that I don’t mind if it dines there, too.

1/30/22 squirrel acrobatics

1/28/22 male downy woodpecker

When I walk a few blocks to Maple Leaf Park on a clear day, I get my most spectacular brush with nature: Mt. Rainier. I can’t seem to walk past Her Majesty without a curtsy. Every time I sketch her, I learn more about her proportions.

1/17/22 This flicker perched on our fence for a leisurely minute or more,
which allowed me to capture its distinctive tail.



  1. The acrobatic squirrel makes me smile. I don't see many creatures here, aside from birds at the beach. I've been tempted to put up a bird feeder, but then I would have to go out and fill it in the cold. lol Glad you get to see "Her Majesty" occasionally on a clear day. That is a great sketch of her.

    1. Refilling the feeders in the cold and rain isn't fun, but now that we've switched to suet blocks instead of seeds, they last a long time.


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