46th Waterfowl Festival!
by Rachelle Siegrist
We left our home in the Smokies early last Tuesday morning, driving through smoky conditions for the first hour, due to several wildfires in our vicinity! Once up the road a distance, the skies cleared, and we enjoyed seeing numerous old farms and barns nestled amongst gorgeous fall color, with the blue tinted Shenandoah mountains standing majestically behind! We enjoyed a pleasant drive throughout much of the day, arriving in time to watch the setting sun paint the sky in an array of pinks, reflecting like dancing diamonds on the water below, while crossing over the Bay Bridge.
Wednesday morning we carefully arranged our paintings center stage in the historical Avalon Theater, where we would spend the next four days exhibiting during the Waterfowl Festival. That afternoon, we drove out to Tilghman Island, passing several old wharfs and marinas before turning onto a narrow little road, lined with quaint historic homes, some very brightly colored. Eventually we reached the end of the narrow spit of land, where we walked out onto a wooden dock, noticing hundreds of ducks in the distance!
As we watched, they drew closer and we soon realized it was hundreds of precious little Ruddy Ducks, their quacks mixing with the sound of the brisk wind, filing the air! What a delight to see them and to enjoy such a tranquil place!
We stopped at a few of the docks on the way back, watching as oyster boats came and went, feeling like we had stepped back in time somehow, and were catching a glimpse of life in some quaint fishing village. With a fondness for old fishing boats and for painting them alike, we took numerous photos for future paintings! The cries of seagulls flying overhead mixed with the “putt putt putt” of the old boat motors and the sound of water lapping against the moored boats, made time momentarily stand still. That evening we attended a private reception at the beautiful Avalon Theater, while talking with admiring onlookers and enjoying delicious food!
Thursday morning brought cooler temps and clear skies, as we headed out early to Blackwater National Wildlife Refuge, where we were greeted by hundreds of Canada Geese in the fields adjacent to the visitor center. Indeed, I couldn’t think of a more wonderful welcoming committee!
Driving along the scenic drive, we stopped to walk a couple of the trails, a favorite being one that mostly follows along the waters edge, the Marsh Edge Trail. Walking through a wooded section of the trail, we enjoyed watching a Redheaded Woodpecker working its way up a towering dead pine, his bright red head standing out against the brilliant blue sky!
Wes walking the Marsh Edge Trail, beautiful fall color and a few Mallards
Walking up the boardwalk to the observation point, I noticed several Muskrat dens and was so hoping to get to see one. I never did, but was delighted to see at least 7 eagles, numerous Mallards and other waterfowl, as well as many warblers. The eagles taking full advantage of the empty Osprey nests, were enjoying their temporary perches, continually filling the air with their attention grabbing calls!
One of the Muskrat dens and the Eagles, with one obviously practicing the Hokey Pokey!
It was a delightfully inspiring morning, and we left refreshed making our way back to Easton, in time for the grand opening reception for the Waterfowl Festival that evening. We enjoyed seeing many collector friends and were thrilled to have some of them add new miniature paintings to their prized collections!
Saturday evening we attended the annual artists dinner, where great food, conversation, and of course abundant laughter was enjoyed! Before we knew it the fun weekend had come to an end. We extend heartfelt thanks to our collector friends, existing and new, who added new miniature gems to their growing collections, and to those considering paintings for upcoming gifts!
Are you in or planning to be in the picturesque Thomasville, GA area this coming weekend? If so, come see us and our miniature paintings at the Plantation Wildlife Arts Festival! For more information about show hours and directions, visit their website.
Our Exquisite Miniatures tour is currently on exhibit at the Dane G. Hansen Museum and will be on display there until December 4, 2016.
Until next time . . .