Monthly Archives: September 2021

This Little Bird

“This Little Bird” 16.5 x 19 cm drawing, September 2021.

A few weeks ago Matthew and I had a short holiday in the south-west of our state. How it came about was a kind of miracle. Matthew had been called up for jury service – much to his horror. Because an average court case is a week Matthew cancelled all his engagements for five days and turned up to do his civic duty hoping like mad not to be selected for a long drawn-out case. By mid-morning Matt’s time in court was over. He had not been selected and was fully discharged.

“Let’s go away”, he said to me in a Fremantle cafĂ©. We rushed home. I pounced on the internet and found a Yallingup vacancy. Two hours later we were on the road heading for our first holiday in 20 months.

I had been feeling a bit lost since my art exhibition in April this year. Where was my sense of wonderment? I had put it somewhere and now couldn’t find it. Over the months layers of sadness had built up with all the miserable world news. I looked under those layers and there it was, revealed – in the form of small BIRDS – passerines – perching birds.

Since being back in Perth I have spent hours and hours outdoors watching and photographing birds. My appreciation for life has returned.

Do you remember the 1965 song “This Little Bird” sung by Marianne Faithfull? It has been going round and round in my head. Our family had the 45″ rpm single which I constantly played as a six year old.

“There’s a little bird that somebody sends/ Down to the earth to live on the wind…”

I feel a series of passerine portraits coming on – starting with this south-western Silvereye from Berry Farm in Margaret River. This little bird – that somebody sends – to heal my heart.

Iridescent Morning

“Iridescent Morning” a drawing in wax pastels and coloured pencils. 25.5 x 28.5 cm. September 2021

Mosman Bay is super-charged at sunrise as multiple panes of glass send reflecting flares out across the Swan river. It is blindingly spectacular viewed from Point Walter. Within a couple of minutes the sun rises a little higher – and that particular light show is over to be replaced by a normal riverside view in sunshine.

Here is the source photo for “Iridescent Morning”. When I took the photo in April I focused on the seagull. However later on when thinking about a drawing I envisioned a purely impressionistic landscape. The sharply focused gull was extraneous to this idea so I left him out.

The drawing “Morning on the Swan River” also has a view of Mosman waterfront as seen from Point Walter. It is the area to the right of this view which appears in “Iridescent Morning”.

“Morning on the Swan River” wax pastels and coloured pencils. 34.5 x 42.5 cm. Drawn in May 2021

At present my drawing output is quite low as I concentrate on photography. It is spring in Perth, not yet too hot to be out. The birds are plentiful while it is still a bit chilly for snakes so I am “making hay while the sun shines”. I spend a few hours daily either at river or coastal locations. Here are five observations from yesterday taken at Pelican Point.

An Eastern Great Egret puts down his landing gear.
Willy Wagtail sits on a Kookaburra’s back to encourage him to “GET LOST!”
Willy Wagtail pauses to rethink his strategy. (PS – Kookaburra finally departs.)
A Variegated Fairy Wren (different from the Splendid Fairy Wrens on the blog last week).

Escape to Fairyland

A male Splendid Fairy Wren in the shadows

This week I discover that Fairyland actually exists and that I have access to it. It is 10 minutes’ drive down the road from my house at Woodman Point Regional Park in the City of Cockburn. What may look like rather bland coastal scrub to the uninitiated turns out to be a haven for flora and fauna on closer inspection. I especially go to see the Splendid Fairy Wrens but encounter some other friends along the way.

Come with me…

A Bobtail Skink tries to look invisible

A fledgling New Holland Honeyeater in its tree

This little fluff-ball is a female Splendid Fairy Wren

High up in the trees is a Red Capped Parrot

Three Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos eat lunch…
….while one Carnaby’s Black Cockatoo looks on and laughs

A study of grey on grey as a Grey Thrike Thrush regards my camera

Bird on a wire (in fact – a female Splendid Fairy Wren)

Peter Rabbit appears (because this is a magical place)…
…and nibbles some lunch…

A Splendid Fairy Wren looks coy in flowering wattle bush
Little poser!

Mid-air hopping to it

These birds are so quick I can’t get two in focus at the same time.

More grooming

Wah – fortunate shot!!!