Bird Watching in Melbourne
At Westerfolds Park on The Yarra River, Melbourne, Victoria
There are many good birding places along the River Yarra, but the extensive Westerfolds Park is an easily accessible spot on the river. The Yarra River runs through the city of Melbourne (the capital city of Victoria, Australia). It is a lifeline to the myriad birds that live along its banks.
The Welcome Swallows swoop up and down and around on their endless insect hunting flights Their plumage gleams blue in the sunlight, but not as blue as the Superb Fairy-wrens which seem to have captured a little bit of the sky color on their crowns. Their soberly dressed mates and the tiny Red Browed Finches busy themselves around the grasses, hardly disturbing it at all, as they flit and bounce about, and their tiny voices make gentle counter-point to the rustle of the breeze in the eucalyptus leaves.
Suddenly, a flash of gold betrays an Eastern Yellow Robin. I look around carefully and see his mate close by, then watch the pair as they use old fence posts for their characteristic 'perch and pounce' method of hunting.They are well camouflaged with their brown/grey plumage. It is only when they fly that their yellow fronts catch one's attention.
In the minutiae of leaf litter scattered around on the earth no doubt live a multitude of creatures, and certainly the White-browed Scrub Wren knows this, as is obvious by his busy scratching around, as he tries to track down some dinner.
Judging from the raucous chatter above me both the Rainbow and Musk Lorikeets seem to be having a party in the leaves and blossoms of a huge and ancient eucalypt tree.
Later in the day as the sky takes on a crimson glow; a pair of rose pink and grey Galahs swoop by, and their plumage is an echo of the cloud's coloring. They are coming for an evening drink from the river.
It is in such peaceful places that birds are best observed, and if one wants to paint birds then a great deal of time must be spent observing their activities. It's not just to find out what they look like, but also to watch the way they behave and inter-act with one another and their environment. I sketch and photograph when I can. As you can imagine neither are easy with such fast moving subjects as birds. Over many years of observation the knowledge and understanding I have accumulated helps me create paintings which, I hope, reflect both the form and the character of my favorite subjects - birds.
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