Sunday, March 11, 2012


Sometimes, good things happen when you're not expecting them. So it was on Feb. 20 when I happened to be sitting by Agency Creek when the widower Red-tailed Hawk flew into its nest with a stick... and then appeared soaring with a second Red-tail, a new mate, I hoped. Here's the nest from that angle.

On March 2nd, as I set my scope up in the new goat barn, aimed out the window at the very distant nest, a bird flew into the nest as I was focusing my scope. The head of another bird appeared momentarily above the nest. Apparently, the bird flying in was bringing lunch to the incubating bird. The pair is nesting!

Every day, I see the very white-fronted Red-tail sitting at attention for several hours within view of the nest. Only once have I seen the other Red-tail, presumably the female, on that post instead. That bird is very rusty colored and darker than the usual sentinel. It's handy that Red-tailed Hawks come in so many variations. It makes it easy to get to know them as individuals. The bird pictured from the back is not showing his white front, but is showing a missing tail feather which makes him recognizable even from the back. Of course, that feather will eventually be replaced at next molt.

But more serendipitous than my lucky Red-tailed nest observations, was the call friend Velta received this week from an art gallery owner in Nevada. I will let her tell the story...

I got a call today from a gallery owner from Nevada.  He answered a Craigs List ad for paintings and included was one of my paintings.  He said he was very impressed and wanted to know all about me.  He must have been impressed to find me here in Oregon with only the name on the painting and the fact that I may have lived in Nevada in the 60's.  He found my father's obituary (in Texas), information about my first divorce and remarriage several years later and that divorce so he knew to try looking for Velta Mack.  Fortunately for him, my name wasn't  something like Mary Smith Jones.  - Velta

This oil was painted in 1965 by Velta Cheak Gehring, now Velta Mack.

Here is part of the gallery owner's email to Velta:

Dear Velta,  It was a great pleasure to speak to you.  When we launch the Nevada artist's site in the future, I plan to have you as a listed artist.

Velta has not done oils for many years. She was busy raising three children alone and working full-time to support them. She moved into more functional art, chalk drawings, and now makes lovely felted hats, among other things. Amazingly, Velta has had no formal art training. But that gallery owner recognized an amazing talent and went to amazing lengths to find her.

How's that for serendipity?

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