Bird – Common Merganser

This duck is an adult female Common Merganser.  I don’t recall ever seeing such a duck near where I live, but they were abundant on our visit to Glacier National Park last year.

Female Common Merganser

Female Common Merganser

The Common Merganser has a long bill with serrated edges and a hooked tip to help grip slippery fish, a favorite food.  Isn’t her spiky hairdo so stylish?  🙂


This little fawn seemed to pose for us as we hiked through Glacier National Park.


Deer – Glacier National Park

She definitely was not afraid of us and obviously was used to folks walking along that trail, and we enjoyed watching her antics as she playfully sparred with her siblings.

Wild Goose Island

Wild Goose Island is situated in St. Mary’s Lake of Glacier National Park, Montana. Folklore tells a romantic story of how this island came to be – the story is below if you care to read it.

I was awestruck by the colors of the glacially fed lake and the majestic mountains in the background, making Wild Goose Island the perfect subject for a painting.

A Montana Legend

retold by S.E. Schlosser

In the middle of St. Mary Lake in Glacier National Park is a small island halfway between two shores.  Many moons ago now, there were two tribes living on either side of the lake.  While there was no direct warfare between them, the two tribes avoided one another and had no dealings one with the other.

All this changed one day when a handsome warrior on the near shore saw a lovely maiden from the other tribe swimming toward the small island in the middle of the lake.  He was instantly smitten by her beauty and leapt into the lake to swim to the island himself.  They met on the shore of the little islet, and the maiden was as taken with the warrior as he was with her.  They talked for hours, and by the end of their conversation, they were betrothed.  After extracting a promise from his beloved that she would faithfully meet him at the island on the morrow, the warrior swam home to his tribe, and she returned to hers.

Oh, what an uproar they met upon their return.  Neither tribe was happy at their meeting, and all were determined to break the betrothal instantly.  What to do?  The man and the maiden had no doubts at all.  In the wee hours of the morning, each swam out to the little island to meet one another — from their to flee to a new land where they might marry.  As soon as they were discovered missing, warriors from both tribes set out in pursuit, to bring the renegades back by whatever means available.

But the Great Spirit was watching, and took pity on the young lovers.  He transformed them into geese, which mate for life, so they could fly away from their pursuers and so that they would always be together.  When the warriors arrived on the island, the found not a man and a woman, but two lovely geese walking among the small trees and bracken.  At the sight of the warriors, the two geese stroked their necks together lovingly and then flew away, never to return.

From that day to this, the little island at the center of St. Mary Lake has been known as Wild Goose Island.

Draw-A-Bird-Day, October 2017

Black-billed Magpies were abundant in the areas we visited in Montana and Wyoming last month.  Never having seen one before, I was struck with their extremely long tails, the beautiful flashes of white shown in their wings when they fly, and the blue and green iridescence of their feathers.

Black-billed Magpie

Black-billed Magpie

If you are familiar with their relatives – crows and blue jays – you can imagine the raucous, sometimes piercing chatter of these curious birds.

Ground Squirrel

I’ve been blessed to be away for the last two weeks on an adventure to Glacier National Park in Montana and Yellowstone National Park in Wyoming. The parks were so different from one another but each was unique and breathtakingly beautiful.

Unfortunately, GNP was a bit smoky because of wild fires on one side of the park, but we were thankful to have had a couple of clear days. The smoke added a layer of mystique to much of the landscape, and I send well wishes and thanks to all those involved in containing the fire.

Yellowstone was a place of wonder, enchantment, and awe. I saw things I never knew existed, and I was mesmerized by bubbling, gloriously colored pools of hot springs and spurting geysers. It was like being on another planet!

I left with art supplies in hand and with high hopes of creating on location, but we were so busy that I just now finished my first painting. I gathered tons of inspiration on the trip and hope to do justice, through my paintings, to the animals, landscapes, and natural beauty experienced in these wonderlands.

This little ground squirrel is the first of many drawings and paintings to come.