Beaver! (They have a lodge over by Yesler Swamp.)
As we sat and chatted, two birders arrived to tell us a Yellow-headed Blackbird had been seen earlier in a meadow. These birds are common in eastern Washington, and uncommon here, though certainly not rare. Still, a very nice bird for the Fill -- and Connie was unhappy that she had missed it.
The birders were going to continue their walk, so she said, "Wave and do jumping jacks if you spot it."
They walked on, and twenty-five feet down the path, they both waved at us. (No jumping jacks -- darn!) That was quick -- the bird was perched on some reeds behind construction fencing. It flew before I could get close enough for a sharp photo, but here's the unsharp version:
Connie and I stayed mostly along the lake shore and had a lovely time birding and talking. There are still a few winter birds about -- my favorites were these Common Merganser females looking for food under the water:
And here is the male:
On to the second subject of this post: I got a commission of sorts, to do a watercolor landscape depicting "scenic Wyoming" for a former coworker who is retiring this September and who loves the state. When I typed "Wyoming landscape" on Google, I got a whole lot of the Grand Tetons, and many of the photos showed an old barn in front of the mountains. So I tried to paint that.
I thought it turned out pretty nice. But when I sent it to the other coworker who had asked me to do the commission, she replied, "That's nice, but it's missing the 'wow' factor. Perhaps something more colorful?"
Well! Honestly. Some people! Of course, after a few days of staring at the painting, I began to think that perhaps it did need something. However, you can't really change watercolor once it's done, so I went looking for a more colorful photo reference. I found one taken in Grand Teton National Park, and had another go.
I showed this to another friend first, and she took one look and said, "Oh, wow!" So I'm pretty sure it has the "wow factor". And indeed, when I showed it to the coworker, she said it was great. Whew!
And this is why I have had a longstanding policy of not doing commissions. Don't even ask.