On the Lookout

“On the Lookout” coloured pencil drawing, 19.5 x 19.5 cm. August 2022

At Karnup Nature Reserve (a small patch of bush 40 minutes’ drive south of Perth) a western yellow robin commandeers a fallen log as a lookout.

What I like about this scene is that it reminds me of 19th century woodblock prints of Mt Fuji; the log and robin somehow suggest the shape of that much-admired volcano. (Japanese images are never far from my mind.)

Karnup Nature Reserve is where I came across my first pair of scarlet robins on the same day I found the western yellow robin. I wish these robins (western yellow and scarlet) luck as there is so much land clearing for housing estates in this area that one wonders for how much longer these birds will survive there. As the trees are mowed down, the patches of native bush become smaller and smaller.

“If a Japanese Lantern were a Bird” is a drawing of the male scarlet robin I found at Karnup.

Just like robins, I am constantly on the lookout. Yesterday I had a day out watching birds at Bibra Lake (a few minutes’ drive from my place). While I have your attention, here are photos I took of a splendid fairy wren family having a winter swim (or maybe a bath) followed by a warming cuddle and mutual preen to finish off.

First we meet Father…(who doesn’t get wet) but prefers to sing.

These two (mother and son?) use a fallen reed as their perch-cum-diving platform.

Let the fun begin…(and no, I’ve never seen fairy wrens take to water before)

When they’ve had enough it is time to rejoin Father who waited for them in the reeds.

Being on the lookout in nature is the best antidote to the world’s woes EVER.

15 thoughts on “On the Lookout

  1. xanderest

    Marvellous , Julie ! Both your wonderful drawings and amazing photos .

    Thanks for your comments too ; it is heart-rending to think that these wonderful creatures are threatened by human activities . Those little creatures live short lives and don’t destroy their habitat like we do .

    I hope that a lot of people see your site and feel a wake-up call .

    I certainly didn’t know that these birds existed before your observations .

    Judy .

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Judy, I’m afraid my blog post won’t make a microbe of difference to ‘progress’. Our W.A. robins aren’t endangered (so I read) – but possibly the ones in that rapidly human-population-expanding area will need to fly somewhere else.
      I didn’t know of western yellow robins or scarlet robins either until this year.

  2. Jean Davies

    What lovely photos! You were just in the right place at the right time!

    We lived in Bateman when we were there. Jean Davies

    Sent from my iPad


    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Jean, I WAS in the right place at the right time. I spend a lot of time these days outside in nature with my camera. It really is good for the soul. I forget all my problems when I concentrate on what the birds are doing.
      Ahh – Bateman is a nice part of Perth.

  3. anna warren portfolio

    Becoming immersed in the lives of your local birdlife is a whole new world isn’t it! I have never seen anything like the wrens having their bath, and to be able to see and record the whole sequence is a special thing indeed. Your yellow wren (again, I had no idea of the existence of this bird!) is certainly ruler of all it surveys. The eye is almost human, it has a very knowing look. I love the grass stalk coming towards it, echoing the bird’s beak, creating a conversation with the environment.

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      Hi Anna, goodness, did I make the eye look human-like? That was unintentional for sure. I see these little birds as very intelligent so perhaps I am putting my perception of their intellect into the eyes.
      Immersing myself in bird worlds is fun. I spent the entire day out on Saturday with my camera. I took a zillion photos and deleted every one. This is GOOD. I see that I can have fun observing birds without feeling I have to have art material to show for it. I popped this little sequence on the blog as it was a good story but I wouldn’t be tempted to draw any of them. DELETE. That’s what I call freedom!
      As to the grass stalk, thanks for noticing. That was very important to the composition. I had photos with the robin facing the other way as well but the relationship with the stalk was gone so – no good.
      I started this one a couple of months back but put it aside to work on the Donnelly set. When I finished my last Donnelly last week I returned to this one.

      1. anna warren portfolio

        Even though you delete all the photos you don’t want, just the act of taking them continues to inform you about the birds, each one adding to your accumulated knowledge and understanding of them, and thus adding to the quality of each drawing you ultimately choose to do. Its a wonderful obsession, in such a good way!

      2. juliepodstolski Post author

        Very true, and the longer I hang about the more I learn. For instance on Saturday I discovered that red wattlebirds chase fairy wrens – stinkers!!!


    Julie, How adorable the fairy wrens are, having fun in the water!! I Love ‘On The Lookout,’!!
    Such a lovely CP drawing, the lovely bird on an old log or post. I also wanted to tell you how I enjoyed your talk with Ann Kullberg, I may have already mentioned it. I’ve actually watched it a couple of times. So wonderful to see you in the talk !! ‘Share the Joy,’ Hugs, Joanne

    1. juliepodstolski Post author

      It is always lovely to hear from you, Joanne. I’m so glad you enjoyed the interview with Ann Kullberg. I had a great time and the hour went by so fast. I’m sure I could have gone another hour! Thanks, always, for your comments!


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