Monday, October 20, 2014

A Good Week for Birds at Ft. Fisher


I headed down to the boat ramp at Ft, Fisher at low tide one morning this week.  So far this  year, I had basically not seen anything but a couple of egrets and earlier some terns.  The parking lot was full of boats and cars so I didn't expect much.  I saw another birder with a camera watching a flock of what looked like Sanderlings from a distance.  I decided to stop and see what the fuss was.  Imagine my surprise when the flock turned out to be Short-billed Dowitchers and there had to be 50 of them. Among them stood two lovely Marbled Godwits which you can see toward the left.  Of course the weather has been gorgeous, the sun was behind me and there was the beautiful blue reflection  You can see all the variation in color here although the same birds

All the Dowitchers standing at attention as more boats came.  They were sleeping most of the time.

You can see a Willet here in the crowd.  Just added the picture so you can see the differences in sizes.  The Dowitchers have yellow legs like the Yellowlegs but are smaller and not as elegant.  I never seem to identify them immediately thinking they are some kind of Sandpiper

This one seemed to have some of his summer color -- the buffy breast.


This Dowitcher was taking a bath between feedings

A closeup of the Marbled Godwit.  This is the earliest I have seen them and the first time up on the beach.

I liked this picture of the two of them together and this may end up in a quilt at some point

The second morning there were not as many of the Dowitchers but I spotted this Semi-palmated Plover.  He blended in so well, it was only when he moved that I noticed him.  I have seen these down here before but rarely on a day when the light was so good for a picture!

I introduced myself to the other photographer when we were both leaving (more boats had scared away the flock) and he had gotten some great pictures of the elusive Clapper Rail and says he lives in the reeds nearby so maybe I will get a better look this winter at some point.  They are pretty shy.

It was nice to see my first Oystercatcher of the season!!  I can't get enough of this beautiful 
bird.  You can see his size as compared to the Dowitcher in front of him.

Sunday, October 19, 2014

Classes and Classes

It has been a busy week with lots of bird sightings, a couple of classes and my daughter visiting and taking home her kitties (who I miss even though my husband brought down our kitties).

This is a picture of the beginning of Pat Mattison's class on some surface design techniques that she was teaching at the Crescent Moon Gallery in Wilmington.  They carry her beautiful quilts, her prints and her hand dyed scarves.


She had a full table of students set to dye some scarves with paints and Colorhue dyes.  Hope they bring some to club.


Yesterday, I took a fun class with Natalia Bonner (her website is Piece and Quilt).  The book that the quilt we did is called Modern Quilts and published by C & T.  These are her samples.  It is not an easy block!! It does give a cool diagonal look though.  Of course I decided to complicate it for myself as I can't imagine ever making any quilt that only had three colors in it (or even three fabrics with multiple colors). I played with the block a bit in Electric Quilt and then decided to only vary the colors of the crosses and keep the other two constant.

This was a striking example.

And so with this using the bright print.


Dianne really varied it by  using a large print as the background (I had considered this alternative but didn't have enough of a good background fabric).  Dianne's fabric was some she obtained when on assignment in Africa.


Here are my blocks so you can see what the block actually is.

This the class with their differet blocks.  Because I had decided to go scrappy, I couldn't sew mine together until I got home and got them on a design wall so I could make sure all the crosses aligned  I am on the far right in my favorite ice dyed t-shirt.  Natalia is the pretty young woman in the middle and she was just charming!!

These are my 24 squares sewn together and sewn rather poorly I must say.  They will go at the bottom of the quilt.  I have decided to increase the number of turquoise crosses and include a couple of more fabrics that have a little yellow with the purple and turquoise.  Unfortunately scrap quilts don't look really good until they are pretty good sized.  I don't know how much I want to commit but think I will make a good sized quilt as it really only took me about seven hours to get this much done.  I am thinking maybe 10 x 12 blocks or thereabouts.  The lattice is one of my hand dyes and is really the limiting factor here as I only  had a two yard piece.  I have a lot of the white though as it was a white on white fabric that I had brought down to dye in the class.

Friday, October 10, 2014

Birds and Butterflies

Here are two of the frequent visitors to our street.  The Ibis in front is an adult and the one behind is an older juvenile as he still has some of his brown feathers.  Almost every day between four and twelve Ibis are digging in the lawns around the house here.  
They are certainly keeping everything aerated.  Southeastern NC is about as far north as you will see these birds.



I have been making frequent walks behind the Ft. Fisher museum.  This pathway goes between a lot of Live Oaks and marshes and I frequently see bluebirds and woodpeckers there (if there are no crowds).  There was a flock of juvenile Ibis there one day and I caught this picture just as they were taking off!


The Red-headed Woodpeckers have been a fairly frequent visitor this  year and yesterday there were at least two if not more.  They are not one of the more common woodpeckers but they certainly are beautiful!



Another of the Red-headed Woodpeckers.



The Eastern Phoebes are now migrating through.  This picture was taken down by the Ft.Fisher Ferry where they congregate usually on the fence.


I caught this Phoebe on the fence down by the museum.  There were several there.


I was surprised yesterday on my walk as for the first time I saw warblers down by the museum walk -- four different kinds even so they are obviously migrating through.

This is a Pine Warbler.


This is a Palm Warbler -- you can see the  yellow under his rump.  I am always calling him by the wrong name even though I know better!  There were Yellow-Rumped Warblers there as well but I didn't get any pictures of them (and I probably have enough pictures of them anyway as they are sooo common down here).


I think this is a Magnolia Warbler which has been reported down here by others.  Someone else thought it was an immature Pine Warbler but I willl stick with immature Magnolia Warbler because of his very bright  yellow chest and the white line under his chin.  I couldn't get a view from the back.


This is a Northern Flicker I saw the other day at Greenfield Lake.  I have never seen one of these in a tree before as they are usually foraging on the ground.  From others, I understand they are migrating through now as well.


I am  not seeing the variety of butterflies I saw last year -- don't know whether it is too early or too late!  This is a very frequent visitor -- the Gulf Fritillary but in an unusual place -- sitting high on a tree.


This is a Cloudless Sulfur which is the butterfly that gives them their name.  They are all over the place down here but liked him on the purple flowers.



This is a Common Buckeye, also very very common in the grass and on the flowers down here.d


Lastly, a Phaon Crescent which is a very small butterfly that flits through the grass outside the house.



Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Just a Few Old Favorites - Another Primer on Telling Egrets from Ibis!


There is a flock of Ibis that regularly hang out around the neighborhood digging in the dirt for food.  There were 8 across the street in the empty lot yesterday and they were all adults although you could see just a teense of tan on one of them (they are brown as juveniles).  I get a kick out of seeing them from my porch!  Note the curved pink beak and legs.

The weather has finally become a little sunny so I managed to get out for a short walk yesterday.  Haven't seen much yet except for my regularly visiting shorebirds.  

A preening Great Egret down at Ft. Fisher.  He has a bright yellow beak and dark legs and is pretty tall.

A Snowy Egret who is perpetually  hanging out in this one spot.  I don't see as many of the Snowy Egrets as I do the Greats. The Snowies are about the same size as the Ibis and have a dark beak with just a little yellow.  Their legs are also dark with a yellow stripe.  They are smaller than the Great Egrets.

There were a couple of juvenile Royal Terns hanging out by the boat ramp yesterday as well.  I don't see them as often as the Forster's Terns.

Driving through Carolina Beach State Park, I spotted this Osprey (again, I think a juvenile) off in the distance.  Another osprey was flying around.

This is my winter project for this  year.  I like to have something to do by hand at night when in front of the boob tube.  Two years ago I hand quilted the Baltimore Album quilt so this year I thought I would try this queen sized wholecloth quilt.  Not sure it will get finished this winter but I will try!!  I find hand quilting very soothing.  I use a pair of pliers to pull the needles through.  It is a purchased printed pattern and hopefully the blue will wash out!!


Sunday, September 28, 2014

My Fabric Dyeing Class!

I had been asked to have a dyeing workshop for the Quilters By the Sea group I haven't taught this class in a number of  years but did manage to find the old directions on a cd.  I decided to do my old standard gradation with fat quarters and then just have a play day for the ten members who signed up (we had to cut off there as we were doing this at Miranda's house).  Pat Mattison helped me with the ladies as well as the take down and clean up.  Miranda did a Herculean effort getting everything set up and flawless although she didn't get to do any dyeing.  She did take lots of pictures and I have included a couple of these.  Not only did I forget my sd card in the camera (Miranda lent me one) but I just didn't remember to take pictures as we went along -- too busy I guess trying to remember everything I wanted to tell them!!

All the ladies are gathered around their tables.  This technique using plastic bags and a dishpan to hold them takes up very little room.  We had a bucket of clean water at each table and later a bucket of soda ash solution at each table.

The ladies were each taking a quarter cup of the different dye solutions (5% solutions) to dye their 8 step gradation.  This meant the strongest was about 6% and halved at each step.  Loose instructions for this are on one of my other blog posts.


You can see the fabrics "curing" in their baggies during our play time.  We had lots of dye to play with and I had brought extra pfd fabric as well.

Doing the preliminary rinses to get out the soda ash before washing in the washing machine at home.

This looked like a colorful bucket!!




This was Betty V's gradation of a greyish green.  It should have been more green but I think because of the chillly temps, the tangerine didn't take as well as it should have.

You can see here Karen's finished pieces.  The ones on the right are a gradation of Intense Blue.  I had a lot of white on white snowflake fabric which I shared with the class and I love how Karen's pieces turned out (pictures taken from a note she sent me)!


Betty got some nice solids (she had wanted solids).  It shows that you can get some really nice solids using low water immersion dyeing if you squish and message the baggies enough! I took these pictures from Betty's Facebook posting!

Some just sprinkled the liquid dyes on folded pieces of fabric (note the snowflakes).

Scrunched with yellow and blue dyes.  This is the back side of one of the snowflake fabrics.


This is the back side of a snowflake fabric.

This is the front side of the above piece!

Another back side of one of the snowflake fabrics.  Got some nice deep colors with this one!!

There was a lot of dye left so I took the opportunity to throw in a couple of tshirts which I will post later when they finish drying.  Don't think they are my best efforts but they are okay!

All in all, it was a fun day and Miranda's location is gorgeous and the weather behaved for the day as well.  Her garage was a perfect setting with plenty of room!