Saturday, May 18, 2024

#2857 "Ruffed Grouse"


#2857 "Ruffed Grouse"
16x20 inches oils on canvas
Started April 22nd, 2024

The scientific name for the Ruffed Grouse is "Bonasa Umbellus". "Bonasa" is Latin for "good when roasted". Hmmm.. The "umbellus" means a sunshade which refers to the ruff or dark-coloured neck feathers that are particularly large in the male. 


I doubt if the grouse would be flattered by the reasoning behind its Latin monicker. Ruffed Grouse is the preferred common name because it applies only to this species. There are other misleading vernacular names. The ruffed grouse is often called a partridge which is shortened to "pat". People also refer to the ruffed grouse as a pheasant or even a prairie chicken which are the proper names for distinctly different birds.

The first day at the easel roughing in the composition.

It is difficult to distinguish between the male and female ruffed grouse except when the male is displaying his dark ruffed collar of black feathers. Both sexes have a tail marked by a broad, dark band near the tip. The dappled, grayish or reddish Ruffed Grouse is hard to see in the forest. It is easy to hear in the spring when the male puts on a “drumming on air” display to attract some hens. The ruffed grouse population within the Singleton Sanctuary seems to be on the increase - perhaps from the growing number of stick shelters built along the trails. 

I enjoyed an interesting encounter with a ruffed grouse while I was picking up sticks along the Singleton trails. I was working my way along the path and noticed a ruffed grouse following close behind. I stood very still so as not to frighten it. The grouse just came closer pecking at the leaves dislodged from the sticks. We watched each other for perhaps five minutes and then I decided I had better get back to work. The grouse did not flush but kept pecking at the leaves coming ever closer regardless of the noise and chaos amid the leaves. It was a beautiful afternoon encounter in the forest. 

The next day I rode out on my tractor to do some heavy lifting. The grouse seemed to be waiting for me and was oblivious to the tractor. I rarely take my camera while working in the forest but on the third day I did in anticipation of seeing the grouse again. The ruffed grouse was ready and even posed for some beautiful profile images. The ruffed grouse was finding morsels to eat from the jostled leaves. The encounter with my new friend inspired me to paint a ruffed grouse and #2857 based on a photo by my friend John Verburg is the result. I might do another Ruffed Grouse painting of my new friend. 

Collage of pictures of my new ruffed grouse friend

Ruffed Grouse usually occupy mixed deciduous and coniferous forest interiors with scattered clearings. They also live along forested streams and in areas growing back from burning or logging. 

Ruffed Grouse are fairly small with a short, triangular crest and a long, fan-shaped tail. They have short legs and often look slimmer than other grouse species. 

Look for Ruffed Grouse foraging on the forest interior floor for seeds and insects. Displaying males make a deep, airy drumming sound by beating their wings while standing on a log. In spring you’ll likely see lone birds; in summer look for females with broods of chicks. Winter birds form flocks and often eat buds of deciduous trees. 

Ruffed Grouse feed almost exclusively on vegetation, including leaves, buds, and fruits of ferns, shrubs, and woody plants. In fall, soft fruits and acorns become an important part of the diet. Ruffed Grouse's ability to digest foods high in cellulose make it possible for them to survive harsh winter conditions in the northern part of their range, where they feed on buds and twigs of aspen, birch, and willow. Although insects and other invertebrates make up only a small part of the adult grouse's diet, chicks 2 to 4 weeks old depend on this protein-rich prey. 

After mating, female Ruffed Grouse choose a nest site at the base of a tree, stump, or rock in areas with sparse ground cover that give a clear view of predators. Nests may also be built in brush piles, or in the bases of partially open, hollowed-out stumps. The Ruffed Grouse's nest is a simple, hollowed-out depression in leaves on the forest floor, reaching up to 6 inches across and 3 inches deep. Females build the bowl-shaped nest and typically line the bowl with vegetation that they pluck from the edge of the nest site. 

  • Clutch Size: 9-14 eggs 
  • Egg Length: 1.5-1.6 in (3.78-4.14 cm) 
  • Egg Width: 1.1-1.2 in (2.9-3 cm) 
  • Incubation Period: 23-24 days 
  • Egg Description: Eggs are milky to cinnamon buff sometimes spotted with reddish or brown.
  • Condition at Hatching:
  • Precocial; chicks hatch covered in sandy to brown down with a triangular patch of black feathers around the ears. Chicks can walk and feed themselves within 24 hours of hatching


I use these art posts to also relearn or discover for the first time, some natural history facts about the world around us. It is more of a challenge to assist and preserve something that one does not understand or appreciate. Thank you for reading this far...  Education is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Thursday, May 16, 2024

#2856 "White-tailed Deer Flags"

#2856 "White-tailed Deer Flags"
14x18 inches oils on canvas
Started April 21st, 2024

These deer were not raising the white flag of surrender but rather a warning that "man was in the forest". The large white tails flop back and forth as the deer bounce away from the intruder. It is a common sight within the Singleton Sanctuary when I am walking. If I happen to be painting, the first thing I hear is the snort of a deer surprised to find me in their territory. They do not typically flag in such circumstances but quietly fade away in the forest. 

There were seven deer in that tangle of hooves. If you can count all of the ears, simply divide by two. If you end up with a fraction, round up that number to the next whole number to get the correct number of deer. You must have missed an "ear" in your counting.  I call this herd of deer the Group of Seven after some guys who I also find very inspirational. 

Ear number 8 is one that you likely missed. I painted it as I saw it... 

This photo by my friend John Verburg captured the fleeting moment of encountering nature. This is the typical back-end view of white-tailed deer when strolling in the forest. This fact also explains why the deer are given that name.  It was his new favourite image and I must say that it was also one of mine. 

White-tailed deer are the most common and widely distributed large mammal in North America. In Ontario, they are the most numerous of the province's four deer (cervid) species which also include moose, woodland caribou and American elk. 

The white-tailed deer is also known commonly as the whitetail and the Virginia deer. It is native to the Americas as far south as Peru and Bolivia where it inhabits high mountain terrains of the Andes. The northern white-tailed deer is the subspecies found from the Ontario-Manitoba border eastward to Cape Breton. The white-tailed deer is the most visible large mammal in southwestern Ontario. The deer's breeding season, or rut, takes place in the fall with young born almost seven months later toward the end of May. 

In the 1700s, animal pelts were forms of currency just as dollar bills are today. The most valuable animal pelt was that of the largest, male white-tailed deer - the "buck." In 1748 a barrel of whiskey held the same value of "five bucks." Another document from 1748 laments a robbery that occurred around present-day Ohio where the traveller was "robbed of the value of 300 bucks."

Even back then, one "buck" didn't necessarily mean one deer pelt. A  single "buck" was reserved for a particularly excellent deer pelt harvested in the winter when the fur was thickest. A summer deer pelt is not as lush and thus not as valuable. It could take several summertime deer pelts to equal a full "buck." 

Multiple pelts of smaller animals, like beavers or rabbits, could also be combined to equal the value of one "buck." This connection of the word "bucks" with currency continued even after coinage of U.S. dollars began in 1792. Dollars have kept the nickname of "bucks" ever since. 

As you can see, I use these art posts to also relearn or discover for the first time, some natural history facts about the world around us. It is more of a challenge to assist and preserve something that one does not understand or appreciate. Thank you for reading this far... Education is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Saturday, May 11, 2024

#2855 "Bald Eagle On The Prowl"

#2855 "Bald Eagle On The Prowl"
14x18 inches oils on canvas 
Started April 20th, 2024

This is another image taken by my friend, John Verburg, a naturalist and terrific photographer. My goal was to capture the eye of the magnificent raptor and the broad wings of this majestic bird. We see them every day above Singleton Lake. The eye is small on the canvas but it had to be perfect as it tells the story.

The eagles have decided to make the Singleton Lake Campground their home base again in 2024. There are white pine nesting sites available within the Singleton Sanctuary as well. A few years ago I watched the eagles start to build a nest at the very top of one of those tall pines. Apparently, they enjoy the hustle and bustle of the campground over the quiet of the sanctuary. We watch the eagles fly over carrying nesting material from the Singleton Sanctuary. 

Eagles enjoy a wide-angle field of vision with perfect focus - authentic "eagle eye" vision. They also see ultraviolet light. Notice that an eagle soars with their wings flat. If the wings of the bird riding the atmospheric thermals are shaped in a "V", it is almost certainly a vulture. 

Historically eagles were relatively common in southern Ontario, especially along the shore of Lake Erie. The lower Great Lake population was all but wiped out in the 1960s. Common enemies of Bald Eagles include humans, Great Horned Owls, other eagles and raptors, and raccoons and crows that will feed on Bald Eagle young and eggs. Sadly there were less than 10 breeding pairs in Ontario in 1970 and the Bald Eagle was declared a provincially Endangered Species in 1973.

Thankfully, the eagle has since recovered from the poisons and persecutions. The bald eagle has been removed from the list of endangered species in Ontario and the population is now estimated at 1400 pairs. In Ontario, they nest throughout the north, with the highest density in the northwest near Lake of the Woods. A pair of bald eagles returned to Singleton Lake at about the same time as we did in 2006. These birds are year-round residents and we see the family group every day. Sometimes there are six eagles together along the shoreline or soaring above the lake. 

Bald eagles are only found in North America. Eagles live for an average of 25 to 40 years and sometimes even significantly longer. These eagles know us well. This adult eagle is not smiling either. Also, see #2848 "Singleton Bald Eagles".

As I painted on a very rainy day, "Falling of the Rain" by Billy Joel came through on my playlist. It's an old song from a favourite 1971 album "Cold Spring Harbor". The lyrics told my story:

  • Once upon a time in the land of misty satin dreams
  • There stood a house and a man who painted nature scenes
  • He painted trees and fields and animals and streams and he stayed
  • And he didn't hear the fallin' of the rain

the lyrics go on to the classic line 

  • So now the boy becomes the man who sits and paints all day
  • But the girl with the braids in her hair has gone away
  • And it seems that time has brought things to an end; nothing's changed
  • Cause you can't stop the fallin' rain. 

My career was not to stop the rain but to accurately forecast it in time and space... but that is another story...

Thank you for reading this far...  Learning is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Monday, May 6, 2024

#2854 "Eastern Meadowlark"

#2854 "Eastern Meadowlark"
14x18 inches oils on canvas
Started April 19th, 2024

Sadly, I rarely see a meadowlark anymore within the Singleton Sanctuary. We maintain a mix of forest and open pasture. The grasses are only cut after nature has had time to nest and raise their young. The habitat is near perfect and undisturbed but perhaps other forces are at work. 

This image by my friend John Verburg highlights how beautiful these birds are. Their song is enough to make them a vital component of the landscape. 

The Eastern Meadowlark is a medium-sized, migratory songbird (about 22 to 28 centimetres long) with a bright yellow throat and belly, a black "V" on its breast and white flanks with black streaks. Their backs are mainly brown with black streaks. They have pinkish legs, a long, pointed bill and a light brown and black striped head. The Eastern Meadowlark's song is composed of a series of two to eight clear, flutelike whistles, often slurred together and descending in pitch. 

Eastern Meadowlarks walk on the ground, often concealed by grasses or crops. Males sing beautiful, flutelike songs from exposed perches, particularly fenceposts. Their flight is a distinctive sequence of rapid fluttering and short glides, usually low to the ground. In winter you may see flocks of meadowlarks hunting insects in fields. 

Eastern Meadowlarks live in farm fields, grasslands, and wet fields. They nest on the ground and sing from exposed perches such as treetops, fenceposts, and utility lines. 


Eastern Meadowlarks are a declining species. Populations fell approximately 2.6% per year between 1966 and 2019, resulting in a cumulative decline of 75%, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. If the decline in their population continues, their numbers will be halved in less than 20 years. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 37 million and rates them 11 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score. Eastern Meadowlarks are listed as a Common Bird in Steep Decline for species that are still too numerous or widely distributed to warrant Watch List status but have been experiencing troubling long-term declines. 

Losses are due to disappearing grassland habitat. Prairie is scarce in the eastern United States, and the kinds of farms that once hosted meadowlarks—small, family farms with pastureland and grassy fields—are being replaced by larger, row-cropping agricultural operations or by development. Early mowing, overgrazing by livestock, and the use of pesticides can also harm meadowlarks nesting on private lands. Farmland conservation practices are vital to the survival of this species. 

Eastern Meadowlarks are also subject to predators, including foxes, domestic cats and dogs, coyotes, snakes, skunks, raccoons and other small mammals. In Ontario, the number of Eastern Meadowlarks has decreased by almost 65 percent during the past 40 years. 

"Threatened" means the species lives in the wild in Ontario, is not endangered, but is likely to become endangered if steps are not taken to address factors threatening it. The meadowlark was added to the Species at Risk in Ontario List on January 13, 2012. Threatened Species and their general habitat are automatically protected 

I use these art posts to also relearn or discover for the first time, some natural history facts about the world around us. It is more of a challenge to assist and preserve something that one does not understand or appreciate. Thank you for reading this far...  Education is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Saturday, May 4, 2024

#2853 "Song Sparrow Sing"

#2853 "Song Sparrow Sing"
20x16 inches oils on canvas.
Start Monday, April 15th, 2024

I could almost hear the song of the sparrow when I first saw this image. If you look closely at the canvas you will also see the notes brushed into the thick oils. I really had fun trying to bring this little bird to life on the canvas. That is what art is all about for me - plus the memories that they preserve and that I get to view again and again. Song Sparrows are found in all kinds of habitats and we see and hear them frequently at Singleton. 

My friend John Verburg recorded this excellent moment in the marsh. John provides a tremendous source of inspiration during the winter when the windchill encourages me to stay within the Singleton Studio. 

Song Sparrows eat many insects and other invertebrates in the summer, as well as seeds and fruits all year round. Prey includes weevils, leaf beetles, ground beetles, caterpillars, dragonflies, grasshoppers, midges, craneflies, spiders, snails, and earthworms. Plant foods include buckwheat, ragweed, clover, sunflower, wheat, rice, blackberries, blueberries, strawberries, raspberries, mulberries, and wild cherries. Food types vary greatly depending on what's common across the Song Sparrow's extensive range. In British Columbia, Song Sparrows have even been observed picking at the droppings of Glaucous-winged Gulls. Oh my...

Song Sparrows walk or hop on the ground and flit or hop through branches, grass, and weeds. Song Sparrows stay low and forage secretively, but males come to exposed perches, including limbs of small trees, to sing. Courting birds fly together, fluttering their wings, with tails cocked up and legs dangling. Song Sparrows are primarily monogamous, but up to 20 percent of all Song Sparrows sire young with multiple mates each breeding season. In autumn, juvenile Song Sparrows may band together in loose flocks around berry trees or water sources. Flight is direct and low on broad, rounded wings. Song sparrows often fly only short distances between perches or to cover, characteristically pumping the tail downward as it flies. 

  • Clutch Size: 1-6 eggs 
  • Number of Broods: 1-7 broods 
  • Egg Length: 0.7-0.9 in (1.7-2.3 cm) 
  • Egg Width: 0.6-0.7 in (1.4-1.7 cm) 
  • Incubation Period: 12-15 days 
  • Nestling Period: 9-12 days 
  • Egg Description: Blue, blue-green, or gray-green spotted with brown, red-brown, or lilac. 
  • Condition at Hatching: Naked with sparse blackish down, eyes closed, clumsy. 


Song Sparrows are widespread and common across most of the continent, but populations have declined by about 27% between 1966 and 2019, according to the North American Breeding Bird Survey. Partners in Flight estimates a global breeding population of 130 million and rates them 8 out of 20 on the Continental Concern Score, indicating a species of low conservation concern. These birds have vanished from two islands off Southern California, the result of more frequent fires and introduced hares that have altered the sparrows' habitat. Wetland losses in the San Francisco Bay area have led to declining populations of a saltmarsh race of the Song Sparrow in that area. 

I use these art posts to also relearn or discover for the first time, some natural history facts about the world around us. It is more of a challenge to assist and preserve something that one does not understand or appreciate. Thank you for reading this far...  Education is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Thursday, May 2, 2024

#2852 "Male Belted Kingfisher"

#2852 "Male Belted Kingfisher"
14x18 inches oils on canvas
Started April 3th, 2024

The Belted Kingfishers are a favourite bird within the Singleton Sanctuary. They chatter their annoyance at being disturbed as they flush from their perch well ahead of the canoe. Kingfishers typically fly just a few hundred metres ahead only to be bothered again as I continue paddling. They are just trying to catch a meal and are plagued by the annoying canoeist. Sometimes I paddle well out in the open water but this is typically a futile consideration as they are easily dislodged from their perch anyway. 

Belted Kingfisher: Megaceryle alcyon, Order: Coraciiformes, Family: Alcedinidae Status: Fairly common resident. 

The eye has to be perfect...
The Belted Kingfisher is a medium-sized, stocky bird with a large, crested head, and a long, solid bill. The bird has a small white spot by each eye, at the base of the bill. Its back is an overall slate blue colour. The white belly is transected by a slate blue band, topped with a white collar. The female has an additional rufous band and rufous colouring on the sides of the belly. 

Belted Kingfishers are common along streams and shorelines across North America. The kingfisher has a distinctive profile with its large head and hefty bill. It patrols its territory, using the open space above the water as a flyway. They also perch on riverside branches and telephone wires. Belted Kingfishers also make long commuting flights over fields and forests, far from water. It nests in burrows along earthen banks and feeds almost entirely on aquatic prey, diving to catch fish and crayfish with its heavy, straight bill. 

  • The breeding distribution of the Belted Kingfisher is limited in some areas by the availability of suitable nesting sites. Human activity, such as road building and digging gravel pits, has created banks where kingfishers can nest and that has allowed the expansion of the breeding range.
  • The Belted Kingfisher is one of the few bird species in which the female is more brightly coloured than the male. Among the nearly 100 species of kingfishers, the sexes often look alike. In some species, the male is more colourful.
  • During breeding season the Belted Kingfisher pair defends a territory against other kingfishers. A territory along a stream includes just the streambed and the adjoining vegetation. Their home turf averages 0.6 miles long. The nest burrow is usually in a dirt bank near water. The tunnel slopes upward from the entrance, perhaps to keep water from entering the nest. Tunnel length ranges from 1 to 8 feet.
  • As nestlings, Belted Kingfishers have acidic stomachs that help them digest bones, fish scales, and arthropod shells. When they leave the nest, their stomach chemistry has changed and they begin regurgitating pellets which accumulate on the ground around fishing and roosting perches. Scientists can dissect these pellets to learn about the kingfisher’s diet without harming or even observing any wild birds.
  • Belted Kingfishers wander widely, sometimes showing up in the Galapagos Islands, Hawaii, the British Isles, the Azores, Iceland, Greenland, and the Netherlands.
  • Pleistocene fossils of Belted Kingfishers (to 600,000 years old) have been unearthed in Florida, Virginia, Tennessee, and Texas. The oldest known fossil in the kingfisher genus is 2 million years old, found in Alachua County, Florida.

This is another image taken by my friend, John Verburg, a naturalist and terrific photographer. John provides a tremendous source of inspiration during the winter when the windchill encourages me to stay within the Singleton Studio. 

I use these art posts to also relearn or discover for the first time, some natural history facts about the world around us. It is more of a challenge to assist and preserve something that one does not understand or appreciate. Thank you for reading this far...  Education is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Saturday, April 27, 2024

#2851 "Water Stalker"

#2851 "Water Stalker"
20x16 inches oils on canvas
Started April 10th, 2024

A very large great blue heron was on the rocky shore of Jim Day Rapids when Linda and I visited the Singleton Sanctuary for the very first time. We would purchase the land a few weeks later. It was a dream come true. That great blue heron and its descendants would always be safe within the Sanctuary. The pictures below show how the land looked in 2006 and it still looks the very same except for the inclusion of our home. 

The upper right shows Linda with Real Estate Bill looking at maps. I fell in love again while Linda tells Bill "this is it..." Linda could read my body language from 100 yards. Although I was born and raised in the area, it was like John Denver's "Rocky Mountain High" where he sings about "coming home to a place he'd never been before". It was a special moment and we now live that every day. 

The Great Blue Heron is the largest heron in Canada. Adults stand over 3 feet high with their necks outstretched. The long limbs dictate the heron's movements: it flies with deep, slow wing beats, and on land, or in the water, it walks erect with long strides. In flight, the neck is doubled back, the head resting against the shoulders, and the long legs held straight behind (see below). 

This colonial-nesting waterbird is characterized by its long neck, long legs and short tail, and a greyish-blue upper body with black and white markings on its crown and underparts. The most obvious difference between a male and female great blue heron is size. Male herons are visibly larger than their female counterparts, typically weighing between 6 and 8 pounds. A female usually weighs between 4 1/2 and 6 pounds. The male heron's bill is longer than the female's bill. These differences are most visible when a mating pair sits side by side. The ornamental plumage in males has been found to be longer on average as well, but these differences can be hard to discern. Young herons tend to have much darker feathers on their face, neck and crown. I am guessing that this is a young male great blue heron but not really certain. 

The males and females play different and distinctive roles in the heron mating ritual. Herons form mating colonies in May and June. Within a colony, herons break off into breeding pairs that remain together and monogamous during the breeding season. Males in the colony perform for the females, flying large circles over the nesting ground, calling loudly, and fighting with other males who challenge their courtship for the female of their choice. Females tend to remain in a single location during the mating ritual, calling the males to her with her song and waiting for the right partner to come to her. They share the responsibility of rearing young. 

Great Blue Herons have specialized feathers on their chest that continually grow and fray. The herons comb this "powder down" with a fringed claw on their middle toes, using the down like a washcloth to remove fish slime and other oils from their feathers as they preen. 

The great blue heron's stilt-like legs are essential for foraging in shallow waters where the birds feed on fish and frogs. On land, being a generalist and opportunistic species, great blue herons may hunt for salamanders, smaller birds, reptiles, other small mammals and large insects. 

Other fun facts: 

  • The scientific name is Ardea herodias. 
  • There are five subspecies of great blue heron. 
  • They breed in colonies called heronries. 
  • The young birds are fed by both their parents via regurgitation. 
  • They typically lay 3-5 eggs. 
  • Their nests are sometimes more than 100 feet up in a tree. 

This is another image taken by my friend, John Verburg, a naturalist and terrific photographer. John provides a tremendous source of inspiration during the winter when the windchill encourages me to stay within the Singleton Studio. The title is a bit of a play on words. "Water Walker" was a phrase used by the canoeist Bill Mason which was possibly a spoof of the popular movies based on "Luke Sky Walker". I frequently contemplate the phrase "water walker" when I paddle. The great blue heron is famous for stalking the shallows for tasty meals... 

I use these art posts to also relearn or discover for the first time, some natural history facts about the world around us. It is more of a challenge to assist and preserve something that one does not understand or appreciate. Thank you for reading this far...  Education is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Tuesday, April 23, 2024

#2850 "Mrs Blue Bird"

#2850 "Missus Blue Bird"
14 (height) X 18 (width) inches oils on canvas
Started April 3rd, 2024

I have constructed several hundred Peterson Blue Bird houses in my time. There were always construction scraps to turn into something useful. Waste not and want not. The northwest corner of King Township and the Greenbelt has most of those boxes but there are still a hundred within the Singleton Sanctuary. 

All varieties of birds enjoy the Peterson Blue Birdhouse design. When my workshop was functional with lots of house construction scraps to work with, there would be twenty or more Peterson boxes in construction. There were jigs set up to make every cut perfect. The reward was to see several broods emerge from each Peterson Blue Birdhouse every summer. With climate change, the bluebirds are now year-round residents at Singleton Lake. They seem to survive on the cones of red cedars. Bluebirds have been known to live for a decade so the birds that inhabit the sanctuary know us well. 

Female birds are less brightly coloured than males. The colour patterns are similar and there is no noticeable difference in size. 

This is another image taken by my friend, John Verburg, a naturalist and terrific photographer. John provides a tremendous source of inspiration during the winter when the windchill encourages me to stay within the Singleton Studio. While in the comforts of the Studio, there is the freedom to paint as long as you wish on a painting. The temptation is to make the work "perfect". The goal although admirable is misguided as too many brush strokes can steal the life out of the subject. I try to make the portrait painterly and breathing like a live subject. 



It is a challenge to keep up with the changing climate. Nature adapts much faster than the maps. The purple year-round shading of the above graphic needs to be adjusted further north to include the areas northeast of Lake Ontario and Singleton Lake. 

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

Thursday, April 18, 2024

#2849 "Wood Ducks Standing on the Log By the Bay"

#2849 "Wood Ducks Standing on the Log By the Bay"
14x18 inches oils on stretched canvas 
Started Friday March 29th, 2024 

The title of this painting was inspired by the song with a similar name. "(Sittin' On) The Dock of the Bay" is a song co-written by soul singer Otis Redding and guitarist Steve Cropper. Redding recorded it twice in 1967, including just three days before his death in a plane crash on December 10, 1967. The song is still popular on the oldies station. 

This is another image taken by my friend, John Verburg, a naturalist and terrific photographer. John provides a tremendous source of inspiration during the winter when the windchill encourages me to stay within the Singleton Studio.

These are a Drake (left) and a hen (right) juvenile wood ducks in September of 2024. They had been busy preening their feathers and discarding fluffy castaways on the log. 

Map of the location of wood duck houses within the Singleton Sanctuary

We have about twenty wood duck boxes within the Singleton Sanctuary and they are heavily used. Like the Peterson Blue Bird Houses and other structures, we have provided, "build it and they will come". We enjoy seeing lots of wood ducks within the Singleton Sanctuary. They arrive in early March and stay into October. 

Drake wood ducks have red eyes without an eye ring.  Hen wood ducks have dark eyes and a tear-drop-shaped white eye ring. The drake's bill is red, with a yellow band at the base and a black line above the nostrils to the tip. Legs and feet are dark yellow. The hen is mostly brownish-olive overall, with white streaks on the breast. 

Note that both loon genders have red eyes possibly to aid in underwater vision. The male loons are 25 percent larger than the female but otherwise, they are identical. 

Wood Ducks are built to navigate the tight quarters of their preferred swampy habitat: A long, wide tail and powerful, broad wings allow them to nimbly fly through trees and branches. Their relatively large eyes absorb more light which is very useful for seeing under shaded conditions of dense forests. Female wood ducks make loud "oo-eek, oo-eek" when disturbed and taking flight. The Drakes have thin, rising and falling whistles. 

The Wood Duck is a secretive cavity-nesting species commonly found in swamps, marshes, and riparian habitats in Canada. In Canada, it breeds primarily in the eastern provinces. Wood Ducks were nearly hunted to extinction during the late 19th and early 20th centuries. Management efforts have been successful and there are now well over a million Wood Ducks in North America. I wish there were many more than that!

Nearly 90 percent of wood ducklings die within the first two weeks, mostly due to predation. The female protects her young until they can fly, about 60 days after hatching. Wood ducks usually live 3 to 4 years but can live as long as 15 years. We often see wood duck broods with more than eight ducklings even late in the summer. Perhaps the predation of young wood ducks is not quite so high within the Singleton Sanctuary. 

The Wood Duck is a distinctively North American species. Its only close relative is the Mandarin Duck of eastern Asia. Evidently the Wood Duck originated in North America, as fossil remains have been found only in widely scattered locations in the eastern part of the continent. 

I use these art posts to also relearn or discover for the first time, some natural history facts about the world around us. It is more of a challenge to assist and preserve something that one does not understand or appreciate. Thank you for reading this far...  Education is a way of life and may it never get old.

For this and much more art, click on Pixels or go straight to the Collections. Here is the new Wet Paint 2024 Collection. 

Warmest regards and keep your paddle in the water,

Phil Chadwick 

#2857 "Ruffed Grouse"

#2857 "Ruffed Grouse" 16x20 inches oils on canvas Started April 22nd, 2024 The scientific name for the Ruffed Grouse is " Bon...