“Peekaboo” coloured pencil drawing , 19 x 18 cm. Drawn in May 2022

I feel like I’m playing a game of hide and seek with small birds when I am out attempting to photograph them. As I am a mere plodding biped the birds fly rings around me literally and figuratively. They flit in and out of foliage; now I see them, now I don’t; then they rapidly depart the scene.

In February when I photographed this particular female Splendid Fairy Wren I was thrilled because she paused from her insect-hunting busy-ness to see what I was up to. She hopped out of the undergrowth and came close to me, peering intently into the camera lens. Her curious look said, “What IS that clicking sound?” (Answer: “Birdie, it is my shutter-release button.”)

This is the photo I drew “Peekaboo” from.

We are at Booyeembara Park in White Gum Valley affectionately known by locals as Boo Park. The 16 hectare area used to be a quarry and tip but thankfully was rescued, resuscitated and rezoned as parkland. There is a stream, lake and lots of trees and bush. Due to years of care and extensive replanting of native flora many birds call Boo Park home.

Booyeembara is a local Aboriginal word which means of the limestone hills.

Below are some of my bird photos from Booyeembara Park; several of them (including the Swamphen) were taken this morning.

Male Splendid Fairy Wren in all his glory.
White Cheeked Honeyeater enjoying nectar.
Grey Fantail pausing for a split second.
Southern Boobook calmly (perhaps with a touch of disdain) regarding this photographer.
Mistletoebird well concealed by thick green leaves.
Exciting bird news: Today I captured images of a female White Winged Fairy Wren. Nobody has seen this species in these parts. But the identification has been confirmed by bird experts from my photos. This is astonishing.
The White Winged Fairy Wren reveals herself.
Male Rufous Whistler checks me out from his safe spot.
Purple Swamphen on its way to the pond…
…and a few minutes later (YIKES!) on its way FROM the pond!!! (One less frog in Boo Park!)
Silvereye contemplating a drink…
… and partaking.

To all you birds – “Peekaboo I see you!

16 thoughts on “Peekaboo

  1. Robyn Varpins

    Your drawing is so much more alive than a photo,you manage to create movement and emotion….vibrancy too.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Thank you, Robyn. The thing with the photo is, I’m not trying to make a piece that looks like a photo, but rather to use the photo as a portal to help me to recreate the actual event (emotions and all).

  2. Sue Hadley

    I’m fascinated with the swamp-hen and the idea that as a walking bird, it has replicas in NZ Australia and California! Love the Splendid Fairy wren and all the birds in these photos Julie.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Sue, I like to think I’m observant but I wasn’t aware of purple swamp hens (pukekos) in W.A until a few months ago. I can’t have spent enough time around lakes. I’m glad you like the birds. I had a long session out yesterday because I knew that rain was coming today. I see huge clouds rolling over as I type.

  3. Cathy

    The variety is amazing and captured so well! I am in Scotland at the moment and enjoying much less exotic birds – just drew a Robin red breast

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Cathy. All robins are fabulous – including Robin Red Breast. I haven’t been in Scotland since 1986 so can’t remember the birds. But whenever I go to Europe I never see very much in the way of interesting birds. I can’t be looking in the right places.

  4. Joy Rhodes

    Charming, delightful and so many beautiful little birds that I have rarely seen! But then of course I havenโ€™t visited the places you do, nor do I have your eye and camera! These little birds are so full of character too, and I just love the photo of the swamp hen! I have never seen one, the colours you have picked up in all of these birds is remarkable too.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hello Joy, I suggest that on a fine winter’s day you go for a stroll in Booyeembara Park. There is plenty of parking on Montreal St and you can descend down a gentle ramp-like path so you needn’t deal with steps. There are park benches to rest on every so often. It is such a tranquil place filled with bird song – and so close to us. You never know what you’ll see – as the Swamphen and frog show.

  5. xanderest

    What a beautiful drawing , Julie , and your photos really inspired me to go to that place ! I have passed your post onto Dan and Kim .

    So glad that you are continuing with your bird series . I can see a beautiful coffee table book taking place . Save me a copy or three !

    Judy .

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Judy, when you do go, there are parking spaces on Montreal Street. Once parked you walk down a gentle slope into the park. Plenty of park benches to rest on between walking. No coffee table books thanks!!

  6. anna warren portfolio

    This little bird has such an inquisitive look on her face – definitely checking you, and your sounds, out. I like her slightly wind-blown look, as though she is out and about and very busy. A bird on a mission. Congratulations on finding a new species to the area! Your observing and waiting pays dividends!

  7. juliepodstolski Post author

    Hi Anna, I still don’t really believe I found a new species in the area. I’m sure there must be some mistake but I’ll keep my eyes open in that park from now on.


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