Gull-FlightIt was the flickering almost-shadows that drew me outside. I say almost because I wondered how there could be shadow with so much cloud. But there they were, tracing faint shapes; a collective streaming ellipse in the sky. Soundless.

And then another cloud, a low thrum, and I knew what brought the gulls. A swarm of insects, tiny and winged. Sticking to my damp skin, working their way into my hair, slipping under the thin gaps between clothing and flesh.


One of These Birds is Not Like the Others

© Karen McRae, 2014

Purple Martin Stories

PurpleMartinsLandscapeThere are moments when it’s hard not to mourn the quick passing of the summer even though we are still in it. Cold rainy days that feel like they were borrowed from another month. A month like October.

And seeing that the Purple Martins have ‘left the building‘. Their summer nesting boxes empty – devoid of those beautiful summer sounds the swallows bring – the babies fully grown, independent. Eventually, hopefully, they will make it all the way to their winter home in Brazil, some of them banded and/or outfitted with tiny GPS trackers. Little winter ‘backpacks’ to tell stories of where they go. When they return in the spring the birds will be carefully caught and the tiny GPS devices removed. The number of Purple Martins is significantly dropping and it’s not really known why so, this data is hopefully a step in finding out what might be causing the decline in their population, and a step too, in finding ways to protect them. You can read more about the fascinating Purple Martin Project here and here on the Nature Canada website.


[The first image is a layered photograph ~ purple martins, a rainy window and a summer landscape made with movement.]

© Karen McRae, 2014

In Progress

RiverStories1River Stories 1, oil, Conté & etching on Mylar

I don’t know where this might end up (messier, maybe – it seems too colourful, it bores me …) but it is what I’m wrestling with at the moment. Well, we’ve been wrestling for a while. Slippery fish.

© Karen McRae, 2014