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Nothing quite as sweet as a flock of budgerigars. I have been working hard on my upcoming exhibition ‘High Society’ which is all about budgies, the birds I first photographed in 2008. The exhibition will open in October in Sydney @olsen_gallery and November in New York @olsengruin Happy Friday!
I visited @tarongazoo in Sydney and am always blown away by how passionate the staff are. They have built special habitat classrooms that schools can book to have hands on ecology lessons with the aim of encouraging passionate future adults. There is a living woodlands, desert and rainforest classroom where children can interact with wildlife. My favourite is the desert classroom with red sand, a flock of bush budgies, finches and bilbies (for followers outside Australia they are an adorable marsupial with giant ears - our native version of the easter bunny!). The classrooms are inside Taronga’s Institute of Science and learning which is a living lab for conservation, education and scientific investigation. It is available to children right up to completing a university degree - a place for the scientists of tomorrow.
Study a bird in detail and what may at first seem plain, will delight you with great beauty. The Brown cuckoo-dove is a large Australian pigeon from the rainforest that has a taste for the finer fruits - they love berries. With rich rusty brown feathers and stunning eyes - no one puts birdy in the corner! This beauty lives @tarongazoo and his portrait was captured as part of my Ornithurae series exhibited in New York @olsengruin
This is Charlie - a Gouldian Finch. Some Australian finches like Charlie are losing their homes. For example wild populations of Black-throated finches are at risk of losing their habitat to proposed open cut mines. Others are at risk from urban sprawl. Reading about their plight can be overwhelming. I once asked Tim Low (one of Australia’s best ecologists) what should we do and he said - either get politically active or support the organisations that are. I’m a member of Birdlife Australia @birdlifeoz for this very reason - being Australia's largest conservation organisation for birds. If you support a conservation organisation where you live, I’d love to hear about it.
Belated Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year! Sooty the Sooty Owl hopes you have a good party or a quiet night and then focus like an owl on a wonderful 2019.
The birds are part of the group exhibition ANTUMBRA showing now in Sydney @olsen_gallery until the 22nd December and then reopens on the 8th - 19th January 2019. It’s a pleasure to have work hanging alongside such wonderful artists. I’ll tag them in so you can look them up. Also artists without accounts are #wawiriyaburton #matthewjohnsonartist #timsummerton #melindaharperart #michaelcusackpainter
Sometimes I get to photograph the same bird over a year. This is ‘Trinity’ the Brown Goshawk. A feathered dandy that as a juvenile wore heavy brown splashes before refining his feathery jumper to stripes when maturity set in. Adult Trinity (second artwork) was exhibited as part of my Prey exhibition in 2014. #browngoshawk #photographicart #wildliferescue #leilajeffreys
Did you think pigeons could be this beautiful? The Wompoo pigeon (also known as the Wompoo Fruit-dove) is a large rainforest pigeon that eats tropical fruit high in the canopy. I saw my first wild Wompoo in Byron Bay where I was birdwatching with a friend and couldn’t believe my eyes 👀. The pigeon in this photo had an injured foot & was in care and so I was able to capture his portrait. It's when you see these birds up close that you realise just how beautiful they are.
I’ve just returned from a little bit of birdwatching in Sri Lanka. If you know anyone travelling here that loves birds & nature then I have a tip. I met Gayan, a wonderful local who took me on a paddle boat on a lagoon in Kalametiya Bird Sanctuary - South Eastern Coast of Sri Lanka. His Dad was a fisherman so he grew up where the mangroves meet the ocean & has a 6th sense for the 150 species of birds that live there. My favourites were the Kingfishers, Orioles, Fish Eagles & Painted Storks. We climbed a great big beautiful rock while the sun rose & talked about his life, birds, the environment and when the 2004 tsunami hit. If you want a true knowledgable local to show you the nature in Sri Lanka below are his contact details, you could also see if he could be a guide at other National parks as it helps so much to have an expert with you. For nature lovers 2 - 3 hrs would be nice but for bird watchers 4 hours is perfect. He’s a kind hearted, absolute gem and I want to help him - you can reach him via WEB kalametiyabirds.com, FB @KalametiyaBirds E firstname.lastname@example.org, WhatsApp +94 77 706 0920. After that go check out the Elephants and have a surf lesson with friends! thank you Steve Taylor @tropicsurf
The muppet of the bird world. This is a Tawny Frogmouth I called ‘Beaker’. They are incredible at hiding in plain sight. Available as limited edition artworks (112cm x 89cm) via link in bio.
Today is the last day for the Aussie Backyard Bird Count. www.aussiebirdcount.org.au It is a chance for Australians to sit outside for 20 minutes and count the birds. See @birdlifeoz This all helps with understanding our current numbers and species and if there are any you don't recognise, they can help. Perhaps you might see a Splendid Fairywren like Pepe (no. 3). This little fellow is available as a limited edition artwork 61cm x 48cm (24" x 19”). Pepe no.1 and no.2 have sold out. Available in the UK @purdyhicksgallery, NYC @olsengruin, the Hamptons @curatorcarole, Sydney @olsen_gallery or contact me directly. Happy counting!
An idea I had many years ago was to photograph flocks of birds in dead trees to, in a sense, bring the trees back to life. Easier said than done. It is such a complicated, slow project which has taken me to the highest highs of excitement and the lowest lows of frustration but that's how the cookie crumbles in art. This artwork is the first I was happy with & was exhibited in New York @olsengruin last year. It is entitled Snowfall. I'm continuing to work on more birds in trees for my next exhibiton in 2019 and if the test prints would hurry up and match my imagination, I will be very happy. Snowfall is available in two sizes - Large and Giant.
This is a hungover Kererū. Kererūs (New Zealand wood pigeons) often get drunk on fermented berries & crash into things. This young fellow had crashed (into a tree or a building) and was brought into HUHA- a wonderful animal rescue centre in Wellington, NZ. When the drunks come in, the wildlife carers roll their eyes, keep them somewhere safe and warm overnight until they sober up. I had the great privilege of taking his portrait one morning - finally sober and somewhat sheepish - then walking to the top of the hill and releasing him back into the wild. He is part of my Ornithurae series and available as a limited edition artwork through my galleries or directly.
I have a few projects on the go & I never quite know when each will be completed as I'm so dependent on finding suitable subjects that fit within each species group. For four years I've been working on a seabird series & it is hard to complete. This photo was taken on Christmas Island where I was working out of Parks Australia's rehab centre for injured seabirds.
Between 2010 and 2012 I worked on a portrait series photographing every species of Cockatoo found in Australia. This is Neville - a Major Mitchell cockatoo. He has sold out but he still makes me smile. I've always felt like he was getting his mugshot taken after getting into some kind of cockatoo mischief.
Hello to new followers who may not know my history. In 2008 I started working on a portrait series of budgerigars which was completed & exhibited in Sydney in 2010. This is Spencer, it's a work that has sold out, but I have started to work with budgies again for a major show next year. They are such great birds - although tiny they have huge personalities.
There are countless great people working around the world trying to save our wildlife. It is also thanks to them & their organisations that I am able to photograph bird life and share their stories. One such story is that of Sirocco, a very famous individual of the highly endangered New Zealand Kākāpõ species. He is their spokes-bird and became an internet sensation when he tried to mate with a cameraman on Stephen Fry's 'Last Chance to see'. (Google it). He is a large, nocturnal, flightless parrot and a true character. Here he is with Alisha who worked for @docgovtnz. Sirocco treated her like his personal assistant (he has his own mobile phone number). If you are in NZ you can meet Sirocco in September @orokonui_ecosanctuary @doc.gov.nz. They are expecting a significant breeding season this coming summer (they only breed every two to three years - population stands at 148 birds so any increase is significant). If you would like to support this important work you can adopt a kākāpō (temporary link in my bio)
It’s a wrap! A rather enormous thank you to my London gallery @purdyhicksgallery for hosting my Ornithurae exhibition. Artworks are available from them or if in New York , USA @olsengruin or if in NSW, Australia from @olsen_gallery. My next exhibition is pencilled in for October 2019. It will be my first in Australia for five 👀 long years!
If you are in London you can see my exhibition @purdyhicksgallery in South Kensington. The exhibition closes 24th of August. This very handsome Peaceful dove was beautifully cared for by the bird team @tarongazoo He is a small dove found in parts of Australasia and his call is a very distinctive and musical 'Doodle-Doo'.
Final days to see my work inside Bergdorf Goodman NYC @bergdorfs @lindasatbg