Saturday, October 1, 2011

Bear Brook With Geese (oil on canvas 5 x 7 in.) Sold

27 September finds us on this warm day, exploring the upstream end of Bear Brook just down from Carlesbad Springs, Ontario, to see how far the unionid mussel diversity of the lower reaches may extend upstream. When we stopped at the bridge on Carleton Line I was first intrigued by a deeply gullied pasture scene with grazing cattle, strongly backlit by the lowering sun on the west side. Walking back to the van to get my paints I turned around to look eastward and there, in totally different light, was an enchanting scene under a delicate sky - an intensely green field with the sinuous band of natural vegetation that marks Bear Brook, winding through it.

As I settle down to paint this scene my attention is drawn to constant excited honking of Canada Geese. The goose music is coming from a flock resting in the field just past the bend of the creek. Zooming in on them with my camera I can see that they are all sitting down! Only a couple have their black necks draped over their backs, napping, and very few are grazing. Most have their heads high, honking in animated discussion about migration.

Fred finds five pairs of fresh Pyganodon grandis (Common floater) shells neatly laid, perhaps by a Muskrat after its dinner of clam meat.  He wades past Floating Pondweed and clumpy algae, and notices a haze of spent Wild Rice stems all along the creek, even in the Cattle pasture. Between the deepish water, clay bottom, and overhanging grass, any Unionids are certainly secure from detection. There are no snails evident in the water or in the small piles of old drift around the bridge. Great Blue Heron tracks crisply pattern the clay under the north side of the bridge.  One adult Green Frog sits on the bank under the bridge and a few others jump in before they are seen.

For the whole afternoon a pair of Mourning Doves have been flying around and perching on wires. 
A Wood Duck lands downstream of the bridge and a Kestrel soars overhead. As I pack up my paints, Crows are calling from the ground in the pasture.


  1. Sounds like this day was for the birds, everyone honking and cooing and cawing. I love the idea of the geese discussing migration, and also of the muskrat neatly arranging the empty clam shells.
    What a delightful blog post, Aleta. It made me smile.

    Kay, Alberta, Canada
    An Unfittie’s Guide to Adventurous Travel

  2. Thanks, Kay! I really love being "out there", and look forward to the rest of this autumn's explorations.

    I wonder if you've noticed the new tab at the top of the blog that links to a page I just put up, announcing our new project "Art and Science in the South Nation Watershed".


What do you think of this painting, and what do you know about the subject that I have painted?