Saturday, April 2, 2011

To the Coast

April 1, 2011 Oregon Coast

Today was wonderful. We went to the coast on the promise of half a day of sunshine. Lately it been a joke around here that 10% chance of rain means it will rain only part of the day instead of all day. Today wasn’t much better. We got about twenty minutes of sun, then back into the clouds. Drizzle started about 3 pm.

In spite of the illusive sun it was a great day. Rufous hummingbirds have recently returned from the south. They are beautiful little birds, The male is mostly rufous in color and a gorget (throat) that has iridescent golds, oranges, usually red and even a touch of green. Tiny jewels! The female is much quieter with just a touch of color on her throat.

First I drew the female. Then I wandered around Lagoon Campground and found two males setting up their territories. One kept coming back to the same perch so I sat down and painted him.

And I drew this shore pine at Lagoon Campground.

Just as we were pulling out of the campground entrance we spotted a great blue heron in full breeding plumage. At this time of year they have a bright blue patch in front of their eyes and their bill turns yellow and orange instead of dull blue grey. So handsome. But he almost caused us to get a ticket. Cars were coming by at the rate of one about every ten minutes, so we dared park on the shoulder on the wrong side of the road to photograph him from the car. The ‘once ever ten minutes vehicle’ turned out to be from the sheriff’s department. The officer firmly pointed out all the rules we were breaking, checked our driving record, and kindly let us off with a warning. Whew!

We ended the afternoon watching loons, red-breasted merganser, and a variety of grebes in the Winchester Bay boat basin. Finally it was time to ‘eat dinner out.’ For us that meant picking up take-out fish and chips at our favorite little restaurant and taking our dinner up to the lighthouse.

We parked where we could overlook the Pacific Ocean. To top it off another hummingbird entertained us while we ate. He zips up into the sky and plunges back down, over and over. When he finally perched his body seemed no larger that the tip of the Sitka spruce he was sitting on.


  1. Elva, I really enjoy seeing your drawings. Normally, I don't comment, but wanted to say thank you for the loon image. Interesting to see your lines across the back in preparation for showing the white patterns. Very informative both for the rufous facts and drawing techniques. Thanks for sharing. Ambal

  2. Sounds like you had a wonderful day out. Love seeing the Rufous Hummingbirds. We don't see them here. We only have the Ruby-throated. They haven't returned yet. It won't be long though.

  3. Oh this is a wonderful painting of the Rufous Hummer. I saw our first one here a couple weeks ago. I looked out the window and there it was at the feeder. We have the Annas all winter long so it was very noticable. Love the photo of the Great blue Heron. Would have been worth the ticket tho. But glad you didnt get one. :)I wish I could get such great shots. I always learn something new from you about something I see all the time. You are such a wealth of knowledge.. thanks for sharing it with us. All your work here is wonderful.

  4. Dear Elva,
    Thank you for the lovely post and wonderful art works. Your humane eyes make my heart warm... I still can swim at a beach. When I come across interesting creatures in a rock bath, I always think of you, great sketcher and reporter, Elva!
    Cheers, Sadami

  5. A beautiful painting Elva. It is such a treat to see your art and read your notes!

  6. I'm so enjoying your postings, bringing us along on your adventures in nature and sharing your discoveries in words and lovely art. Thanks Elva!

  7. Terrific as always. Makes me want to go out and look for those seasonal males! Just, photography, and education!!

  8. Beeeaautiful work! I love this! I have always loved to draw and paint - especially nature drawings and landscapes. I want to begin a journal soon that incorporates drawing. Well done!

  9. So glad you got some sunshine and treated us with some of your wonderful stories and drawings! Love the hummingbird sketches: they are so hard to capture, always on the move!
    Here in Colorado, they wont be back until mid-may but I was amazed to discover that they would be with us all summer at 9600t elevation! I was told this flying into the sky and plunging straight back down, making a loud popping sound as they do so is part of their mating game. Does any one know if it is the case?

  10. Hi Chris: Yes, it is part of their courtship. Different species of hummingbirds have variations on just how they do it, so the type of dive can help identify the species.