Redwood Deck

At my cabin in the Santa Cruz Mountains, the redwood deck that faces northwest, over the San Lorenzo River and the hillside of trees beyond, has become a touchstone for my journaling. This view and this amphitheater has inspired many sketches.

I have sketched this scene over the years in many different seasons and in different light. This view has helping me focus on the natural details that surround the cabin. I have found that by looking at a single location, the possibilities are infinite.

Many different animals visit the deck and the area around it. Chickadees, juncos, jays, nuthatches, acorn woodpeckers, black-headed grosbeaks, wood ducks, Cooper’s hawk, red-shouldered hawk, band-tailed pigeons, squirrels, deer, raccoons and skunks. All these creatures have found their way into my journals.

Chickadee tree

The redwood tree, that towers over the cabin, off to the right has been the inspiration for a dozens of sketches. I built a chickadee nest box that hangs about 30 feet above the ground. The actives of the chickadees during the spring and summer months have always been fodder for my musings. The above spread was done on Mother’s Day.

Jay ladder

For some the “blue jay” of the redwoods is a noisy egg thief that is abhorred but to me the Steller’s jay provides hours of entertainment. The page above is from observing the jays as they bounce up the “Redwood Ladder” after getting seed at the feeder.

 

Swainson's thrush

On a resent May afternoon I was greeted by the ethereal call of the Swanson’s thrush coming from down the hill on the near shore of the San Lorenzo. This neo-tropic migrant had returned to it’s summer nesting grounds. I created a spread to celebrated it’s arrival with a portrait, a map, and a bust of William Swanson, the British ornithologist that the thrush is named after.

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