That Snowy Owl

Dear Nature,
I’m back to sunny, but still chilly Connecticut after our little visit to very sunny Florida. And there is still snow on the ground, and even more in the shadowy woods. But the birds are warming up their spring songs and the sun’s strengthening rays are decidedly delicious. During the last few winters of snowy owl irruptions, we were still seeing them in early March. This particular owl caught us by surprise. We went looking for snow buntings, arriving to see the flock right away. A couple returning to their car asked us if we were there to see the snowy owl. We asked “what snowy owl?” They replied, ‘that snowy owl” pointing to a very prominent white blob sitting on the wooden structure out in the wide open. We had ‘that snowy owl” to ourselves, finally leaving it alone to enjoy its sunbath.

With Love, Kelly

Merry and Sweet

Dear Nature,
Theodore Roosevelt wrote about the sights and sounds of the American Wilderness. Of the snow bunting, he wrote this:

“One bleak March day,…a flock of snow-buntings came…Every few moments one of them would mount into the air, hovering about with quivering wings and warbling a loud, merry song with some very sweet notes. They were a most welcome little group of guests, and we were sorry when, after loitering around a day or two, they disappeared toward their breeding haunts.”

On a not so bleak, but a pretty blue early March day, we found this flock of snow buntings at the Connecticut shoreline. They were busy eating, chittering and flushing en masse into the air.

Indeed, the sounds of the snow bunting flock were merry and sweet, and fleeting.

With Love, Kelly

To listen to the snow bunting, use this link


Water Rainbows

Dear Nature,
These wily, beautiful wood ducks frequent a nearby wetlands that an old railroad bed runs through, turned into a trail, called “Rails to Trails”. l have avoided it during this past year of the pandemic due to overcrowding, like so many of my favorite trails. People have sought the outdoors during our lockdowns and work-from-home situation, and while I am happy that many are discovering your benefits, Nature, I’m finding it harder to experience the solitude I seek. Just last week I was thinking that I could try to go very early to see if the  wood ducks have returned, before the trail gets too crowded, only to see saw a small flock of them fly over our backyard, heading towards a private pond beyond our pasture. Yes, they are returning and yes, maybe I should try to get out very early and see if I can sneak up on them…wish me luck!

With Love, Kelly

Wisdom – Air

Dear Nature,
On February 1, 2021, the world’s oldest known banded wild bird, a Laysan albatross named Wisdom, hatched yet another chick on Midway Atoll in the Hawaiian archipelago. Wisdom is  70 years old and is believed to have hatched 30 – 36 eggs in her lifetime. I’ve had the immense pleasure of being involved with a project at the National Tropical Botanical Garden on Kauai enabling me to also observe and paint the birds of Hawaii. While the subject of my painting is not the actual Wisdom, it is of one of her kin that I witnessed flying at eye level at the Kilauea Point National Wildlife Refuge on the north side of Kauai, where, due to conservation efforts, the albatrosses have returned to nest after a long absence. I can’t even begin to describe what it is like to experience this amazing creature of the open oceans soaring close enough to hear the wind through their wings, so I hope that my painting can speak for me. In honor of Wisdom and her kin.

With Love, Kelly

American Wigeon

Dear Nature,
I went birding today with my sister – it was her birthday! We didn’t see a ton of different birds but we got to spend a beautiful day enjoying the fresh air and warm, nourishing sunshine. Our favorite bird today was this adorable male American wigeon. We found him hanging with a flock of Canada geese. At some point he must have realized that he was not with his own kind as He started furiously paddling back to the rest of the wigeons, and making this very cute little whistle sound with his tongue sticking out!

We topped off our day at our local garden store to gift ourselves with some plant love – orchids for both of us and herbs for the birthday girl! Now off for some cake!

With Love, Kelly

Bronx Zoo Cutie Pie

Dear Nature,
I have to say one of my very favorite animals is the red panda. Of course I would love to be able to see one of these little cuties in its native habitat, but I know it probably won’t ever happen. I am fortunate to be able to visit them at the zoo.

I know that many people feel that zoos are horrible places, and some private ones are. But most of the big zoos are run by conservation societies dedicated to the preservation & protection of the world’s species. Many zoo conservation programs are the last resort for species on the brink of extinction. I also argue that it’s not the animal’s fault that they are born into a zoo, or are rescued from a bad situation. If the world’s species are to be saved for their own sake, and for future generations to enjoy, we need to be able to see them in person so that we can see that they are worth fighting for. Supporting these conservation programs protects species like the adorable red panda!

With Love, Kelly

Nā Pali Coast, Kauai

Dear Nature,
I’m back to my trip to Kauai in March of 2017. I have so many amazing memories of Hawaii, and especially, Kauai. Is it called the ‘Garden Island’ of Hawaii and that is so true, the lush growth and colorful flowers abound. It is a place of mystical beauty and peaceful tranquility. A true home away from home. And no trip to Kauai is complete until you take to a boat to sail on the deep blue Pacific Ocean, round the southern coast and head up the Nā Pali Coast to immerse yourself in its ethereal beauty.  From craggy highlands to fairytale waterfalls plunging down reddish purple cliffs, draped in one thousand shades of green. Pure Magic.

“If you try, you will find me

Where the sky meets the sea

Here am I your special island

Come to me, come to me”

       –Bali Haʻi, South Pacific


With Love, Kelly

Note: The music of my childhood included many records of musicals, and of course, we watched all the movies. Rodgers and Hammerstein’s South Pacific was one of my parent’s favorites! Here’s a link to Bali Haʻi from the movie

Bali Ha’i