Craft Books: Colour, Design and Inspiration: Part Two

Today, we are continuing with my post on Books about Colour, Design and Inspiration, with a review of some favourite children’s art and fantasy books; excellent books on using library resources and fun exercises to motivate and inspire; and stories about other craftspeople and their studios, finishing with some valuable practical books on running a craft business and art teaching.

Children’s Books

The Usborne Book of Art Ideas by Fiona Watt 1999/2009;

I love these little books. Aimed at young children, they are packed with lots of wonderful ideas, which can be used to inspire adults as well!BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (788) - Copy - Copy The Usborne Book of Art Ideas describes a wide variety of art materials (paper, paint, ink, pastels, wax crayons, pens, brushes and palettes) and techniques with pages on: mixing colours, density of paint application, colour theory, perspective, printing patterns, masking out, patterns and dots, glue pictures, elastic band prints, hand and cardboard prints, blow paintings, brush and ink work, watercolour painting, chalk and pastel techniques, wax resist rubbings and making cards and frames.

The Usborne Book of Art Projects by Fiona Watt 2003/2008;

This small sequel covers a variety of art projects from tissue paper windows; texturing paper; paper mosaic tins; paper weaving ; frames; and collaged cards and book covers to dangling bead shapes, foil fish; 3-D cityscapes; scratching paint; doodling; embossed circles and printing techniques.

Creative Art Crafts by Pedro de Lemos

: Book 2: Cardboard, Wood, Cloth and Metal  1945    and

Book 3: Weaving, Raffia Basketry, Textile Arts, Plastics, Jewelry Designs, Pottery Crafts, Cement Art Crafts, Sculpture, Puppetry, Masks, Stagecraft, Marionettes, Costuming, Pageantry, and Sandtable Projects 1948;

I rescued these two delightful old-fashioned volumes from the bin and wished I’d found the first volume as well (Book 1: Paper Craft, Toy Craft, Relief Craft)!

I loved the quote by John Erskine in the forewood on Page 2 of  Volume 2:

‘The joy of creation is always greater than the undoubted pleasure of looking on. The sad fact is that the vast majority of mankind are onlookers, only the rare few are doers, but those who have the most fun will be those who do rather than merely look on’.

After a brief introduction to Cardboard and Wood Craft, Pedro suggest many projects using these mediums, including: Paper Sculpture; Corrugated Paper Craft; Cardboard Houses, Boxes, Nativity Scenes and Letter Portfolios (which really defines the age of this book!); Papier Mâché; Stained Glass Designs; Action Animals, Toys and Figurines; Nesting Boxes; Whittling; Wooden Boxes; Chip Carving; Gesso Craft; Marquetry; and Wood Batik.

The section on Cloth and Textiles has a similar approach- an introduction to various techniques, followed by more detailed instruction and projects, including: Wax Crayon Decoration; Cloth Stencilling; Silk Screen; Designing Monograms; Printing Cloth with Textile Blocks; Potato Prints; Batik; Shibori; Solar Printing; and Hand Embroidery.

Metal crafts include: Repoussé; Stamping and Working Metal; Tin Can Craft; Sheet Metal Sculpture; Copper Craft; Metal Etching; Plant Holders; Wirework; and Iron Craft.

There are more wonderful sentiments about the integration of arts and crafts in the forewood to the third volume (Page 2- see photo below). This book covers even more crafts: Weaving using Cardboard, Box and Hand Looms; Raffia Work and Rug Hooking; Basketry and Rush Work; Jewellery Making; Pottery; Glass and Plastic Sculpture; Colour Cement Tile Work; Puppetry; Shadow Play; and Mask Making; Costumery and Set Design.

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While written for art educators and therapists, these volumes with their clear presentation, using simple black-and-white photographs (with the odd colour plate) rather than complex text, mean that they can be used by anyone, regardless of age, language and technical ability and serve to provide plenty of inspiration rather than in-depth instruction!

An Alphabet of Animals by Isabelle Brent 1993;

A beautiful book with 26 stunning animal portraits from A to Z.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (793)

Isabelle’s paintings are full of brilliant colour; patterned and colourful borders and backgrounds; and gold leaf, reminiscent of medieval illuminated manuscripts. The text highlights the special unique properties of each animal. It is a truly beautiful publication, whose subject matter and presentation cannot but inspire future artistic endeavours.

I love the imagination and illustrations of the following books! They are all fantastic spurs to creativity and artistic inspiration!

Arthur Spiderwick’s Field Guide to the Fantastical World Around You by Tony Diterlizzi and Holly Black 2005;BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (798)

In this comprehensive field guide, ‘Arthur Spiderwick’ describes the creatures of the invisible world (complete with scientific nomenclature), only accessible to those gifted with ‘the Sight’, and categorises them according to their home environment:

Around the House and Yard: the helpful Brownies and troublesome Boggarts, mysterious Changelings and light-fingered Pixies; and the fiery Salamanders and Stray Sods;

In Fields and Forests: the fatal Cockatrices; capricious elves, diligent leprechauns; man-eating Manticores; nebulous Sprites; magical Treefolk and curative Unicorns;

In Lakes, Streams and the Sea: Wailing Kelpies, curious Merfolk, musical Nixies, massive Sea Serpents and constantly hungry Trolls of the waterways;

In the Hills and Mountains: From diminutive Dwarves to Giants and Ogres, Goblins and Hobgoblins and even Deep Cavern Knockers;

In the Sky: The fearsome dragons, regal griffins, glorious regenerative phoenix; and

Outside at Night: The nocturnal Banshees, frozen Gargoyles, roguish Phookas and luminous Will-o’-the-Wisps.

I love the notated illustrations of the mythical creatures and watercolour paintings of their environment  throughout this book, as well as the ‘scientific’ approach to their study, reminiscent of natural history books of the early 1900s.

The Goblins of Labyrinth by Brian Froud and Terry Jones 1986/ 2006;BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (799)

This is a similarly fanciful and imaginative tome, based on the ‘archaeological discovery’ by Brian Froud, in an unspecified remote corner of Olduvai Gorge, Northern Tanzania, of a 60 Million year old earthenware pot with runic inscriptions on the underside edge of the rim, which in turn led him to a further discovery of 43 notebooks about ancient goblins. Their huge diversity; descriptions and images; and peculiarities and habits are documented in this amazingly creative book! I love the imagination and great sense of fun in this book!

Dr Ernest Drake’s Dragonology: The Complete Book of Dragons edited by Dugald A Steer 2003;

I also plan to make a dragon one day! Similar in style to the last two books, this book is based on the scientific study of ‘dragonologist’, Dr Ernest Drake.BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (800)

His authenticity and credibility is backed up with supporting evidence in the front of the book like his library card and a letter in an envelope addressed to the reader, as well as spells to catch a dragon. This comprehensive description of everything to do with dragons (Locations; Species; Natural History; Life Cycle; Behaviour; Finding, Tracking and Working with Dragons; Scientific study; Dragon script; Useful spells and charms; and history) includes: World maps; Samples of skin, wing membrane and dragon dust; Pop-out diagrams; Personal record books; Secret envelopes; and Riddles and puzzles. Another highly imaginative and creative book!

The Book of Barely Imagined Beings: A 21st Century Bestiary by Caspar Henderson 2013

Based on medieval bestiaries, this paperback focuses on amazing unique creatures, which actually exist and still survive in our modern world, two thirds of which are marine.

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Alphabetically ordered, they range from critically endangered Axolotls (a type of salamander) to Zebra Fish, the populous darlings of scientific study due to the speed of the development of their embryos. This book highlights the wonder and miracle of our natural world, despite the devastating impacts of humans! It was also highly informative! While I learned so much more about the Crown-of-Thorns Starfish and the Nautilus, I knew nothing about Sea Butterflies or Goblin Sharks or even Xenoglaux, the Long-Whiskered Owlet!

Cerebral Inspiration

The Watkins Dictionary of Symbols by Jack Tresidder 1997;

Traditional symbols have served as a visual shorthand for artists and craftspeople to express their beliefs and ideas about human life for thousands of years, predating writing and representing universal fundamental concepts in many primitive societies and cultures.

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This book contains 1000 symbols from myth, literature and art, from a range of cultures throughout Europe, Africa, Asia and the Americas and are arranged in alphabetical order. It is a valuable starting point for artistic inspiration, as well as a fascinating element of mankind’s history!

The Crafter’s Devotional: 365 Days of Tips, Tricks, and Techniques for Unlocking Your Creative Spirit by Barbara R. Call 2009;

This book is jam-packed with inspirational ideas to break the crafter’s block!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (816)

This scanned page (page 9) shows the way it is organized:BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (817)There are just so many ideas, that really you have to read the book yourself. Some of the ideas, which resonated with me, included: Wordless Journalling (Day 15); Miniature Collaging (Day 17); Women’s 7 Senses (Day 50); Going Back in Time (Day 67); the Scamper concept (Day 167-168; Page 144 – see photo below); and Gratitude Journal (Day 359).

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I would love to try making air-drying clay rubber stamps (Day 6 and 7); House journals (Day 29); Altered Books (p 51); Sisterly Creations (Day 62-63); Finding Your Animal Totem (p82) and Write For  100 Years from Now (p113); Happy Birthday (Day 221; Page 187; Sun Printing (Day 234; Waxed Paper Batik;  Tiny Tin Treasure Troves (Day 310) and Paper-Aging Techniques (Day 346). There are also a number of artist interviews throughout the book.

Bibliocraft: A Modern Crafter’s Guide to Using Library Resources to Jumpstart Creative Projects;

I love this book, which I bought (ironically!) when I was working for the Digital Repository of the Deakin University Library. It was right during the time period, when the library was converting from a storehouse of books with lots of bookshelves, which were discarded, to a digitally dominated learning space with comfortable lounges and discussion areas!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (820)Books have always been a constant source of inspiration for me, but the advent of the internet means increased accessibility to a wide range of libraries and library collections:

State and neighbourhood branch libraries for borrowing out hard copies, as well as magazines and videos;

University libraries for students, though often borrowing access by the public can be organized for an annual fee;

Research libraries: For example, The Metropolitan Museum of Art has 12 different libraries and study centres in New York City alone; The Library of Congress, Washington, DC, is the largest library in the world, while The British Library contains many early printed books and a Historic Bindings Database. All are becoming increasingly digitized, which is a wonderful boon to artists further afield.

Special collections: Historic maps; ornamental penmanship; and early printed books and illuminated manuscripts; and now

Digital libraries: For example, the World Digital Library www.wdl.org/en; Flickr Commons www.flickr.com/commons and Europeana www.europeana.eu.

There is a chapter on using library catalogues, Library of Congress headings and keyword searching; copyright laws and legalities; and finally, a list of some recommended library collections for specific needs: General Visual Resources; Home Economics; Craft History and Culture; Printed Ephemera; Book Arts and Bookbinding; Costume and Fashion; Arts and Design; Children’s Books; Medieval Manuscripts; Science and Technology; Maps and Cartography; Quilts; Knitting; Lettering, Penmanship and Typography; and Performing Arts and Film. I cannot recommend this book highly enough as a source of inspiration!

Also included in the book are projects inspired by the library with instructions, including: a Marbled Fabric Pouch; Decorated Papers and Watermark Pillows; Ornamental Penmanship and Cartouche Embroidery; Calligraphy and Penmanship; a Secret Message Snowflakes and Patterned Stationery Set and an Arts and Crafts Ex Libris Set; a Quilled Willow Pendant and a Paper Town Garland; a Kittens Pockets Dress with Kittens and a Cyanotype Bed Throw; Antiquarian Animal Votive Holders and Japanese Heraldry Coasters; and a Wool Rose Fascinator and Felt Dogwood Blossoms for Millinery. The appendices include a stitch guide and sources for supplies.

And finally, books on other craft people and sage advice about craft businesses!

The Crafter’s Companion: Tips, Tales and Patterns from a Community of Creative Minds edited by Anna Torborg 2006;

A very inspiring book, featuring interviews with 17 different craftswomen, who discuss their endeavours under the headings: Why I Create; Inspiration; and Workspace; with a representative project of each artist’s original designs, with photographs, patterns and detailed instructions (at the back of the book).BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (827) Their crafts include: Patchwork and Quilting; Toy and Bag making; Embroidery ; Felting and Knitting; and Paper Crafts.

I particularly liked the work of toymakers: Anna Torborg, Fiona Dalton, Tania Ho and Myra Masuda and would love to try making the latter’s Elephant Pouch. Again, there is a list of sources in the back of the book.

Inside the Creative Studio: Inspiration and Ideas for Your Art and Craft Space by Cate Coulacos Prato 2011;

I love reading about other artists’ and craftspeoples’ studios and gleaning useful ideas from them for my own sewing room!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (833) This book is organized into six chapters, with 6 studios in each, titled:

Chapter 1: A Room of One’s Own;

Chapter 2:  Organization and Storage;

Chapter 3: Flea Market Flair;

Chapter 4: Small Space, Big Style;

Chapter 5: The Power of Light and Colour; and

Chappter 6: Make It Your Own.

There are floor plans, photographs, tips and hints; colour symbolism; discussions on lighting or open studios; and checklists for needs and storage! There were some great ideas from rods to hold ribbon spools and underseat bookcases; wire baskets to organize fabric stashes: wooden card filing cabinets and muffin tins to hold stamps or beads respectively; and clear plastic drawers for easy access.

While not all necessarily applicable, the huge diversity of studios has appeal for a wide variety of situations. I could easily set up shop in Gina Lee Kim’s studio. Merely reading this book and viewing all the wonderful art spaces is stimulation and inspiration enough for renewed vigour!

Mollie Makes: Making It: The Hard facts You Need to Start Your Own Craft Business 2014;

The title says it all! While inspiration and artistic practice are fundamentals, so too are business skills, which enable your ability to continue to follow your passion and pursue your art/ craft! Chapters, complete with expert advice from key players and fellow artists, cover:

Chapter 1: First Steps: Customer profiling; Building Your Brand and Developing a Logo; Setting up a Website; and Online Marketing;

Chapter 2: Taking the Plunge: Company Structure; Working from Home or Away; Financing Your Business; and Writing a Business Plan;

Chapter 3: Creative Conundrums: Costs and Pricing; Sourcing Raw Materials; Staying Inspired; Making Connections (Networking and Mentoring); and Protecting Your Intellectual Property;

Chapter 4: Spreading the Word: Using Social Media; PR Material; Writing a Press Release; Feature Articles; Getting Professional PR Help and Photographing Your Product;

Chapter 5: Sell, Sell, Sell: Craft fairs; Online Market Places eg Etsy; Selling from your own website, selling to shops and Opening your own shop; Running Workshops; and The Customer is King

Chapter 6: The Nitty Gritty: Hiring a bookkeeper or accountant; tax; card and online payments; Managing Cash Flow; Insurance; Consumer Law in brief; and Employing Staff. There is a list of useful websites for each chapter in the back of the book.BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (825) I cannot stress how important and valuable this small book is, not just for artists and craftsmen, but for the establishment of any business. It is however particularly beneficial for creative people who, by the sheer nature of their creativity and right-brain thinking,  find the business aspects and self-promotion quite daunting and challenging! I’m talking from personal experience here!!! And finally,

How to Teach Art and Craft by Trisha Goodfield 2010.

Teaching art and craft and sharing your experiences and special skills with children and adult beginners is often much more lucrative than selling the hand-crafted product, whose huge number of production hours is often not reflected in the consumer price! People will pay however for tuition and given the price per person per hour is financially affordable for an individual and a class is often made up of a number of individuals, all paying that lesson price, then it is often possible to make good money from giving lessons and workshops.

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The author presents this book by posing a series of questions, along with sub-questions within the text :

What to Teach: Demonstrations and Classes; retreats and conventions; Classes based on Technique or Specific Projects;

Where to Teach: Teaching from Home; Community Groups; Craft stores; Libraries and Meeting Rooms; Adult Education; Craft Shows; Retreats and Conventions;Schools; Online; Magazines; and Outdoor Venues;  as well as Council and Government Regulations; Insurance, Tax and Permits; Pricing Classes (including the cost of materials, preclass preparation; travel; and Insurance and taxes); and Promotion and Marketing (including preparing a portfolio or resume; Flyers, Brochures and Business cards; Networking and Social Media; Interviews and Follow ups; and Boundaries concerning what you are prepared to do or not do!)

Who are you teaching: Teaching Children and Adult Learners; Adult Learning Styles and Teaching Strategies; Personalities and how to manage them like the latecomers (White Rabbit), the Professor, who knows it all (!), the Diva and the Chatterbox; and Dealing with different cultural and generational attitudes, values and beliefs; and finally,

How to Teach: Learning Objectives; Planning your Introduction; Learning Strategies; Nerves; Demonstration Skills; Handouts; Reinforcement/ Feedback; Listening skills; Questions and Answers; Lesson Closure and Evaluation; Lesson Plans and Formats and Further Teacher training.

While many of these ideas are common sense and instinctive, this book is a very worthwhile and valuable summary and reminder of all aspects of teaching art and craft.

I hope this small selection has whet your appetites. Next month, I will be looking at some of my favourite Drawing and Art Books! Next week, we return to my monthly Feature Plants with a post on Lovely Lavender!

Craft Books: Colour, Design and Inspiration: Part One

As you all know, I am a keen craftswoman with quite an eclectic range of interests from drawing, printing, paper craft and photography to a wide variety of textile crafts including knitting and crochet; felting and dyeing; embroidery; appliqué and patchwork; dressmaking; soft toy making and textile history and culture; so this year, I am concentrating on the wonderful books in my craft library, starting this month with those concerning: Colour, Design and Inspiration!

Unfortunately, because this is quite a large post, I have had to divide it into two parts. While many of my embroidery books contain chapters on colour theory, design and inspiration, the books featured in this post have been chosen for their detailed coverage of this topic.

Colour

Collins Artist’s Little Book of Colour by Simon Jennings 2007

This is a very practical guide for artists to the huge subject of colour, covering not only its history and origins, but also providing a Colour Index, a visual reference source of all the most popular artists’ colours for oils, watercolour, acrylics and gouache.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (739) The authors reviewed more than 1500 colours from 11 of the world’s leading paint manufacturers and selected 400 colours for the index, categorizing them by name, medium, pigment, hue and variety.

As can be seen in these colour charts from pages 82-82 (photos below), the same-named colour may vary in hue according to the medium and even within one medium, between different manufacturers. BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (740)BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (741)In the back is a guide to the main suppliers, as well as notes on pigment standards and colour terminology.

Colour: Travels Through the Paintbox by Victoria Finlay 2002

A far more romantic approach and treatment of colour, this paperback is ‘packed with stories, anecdotes and adventures. A full rainbow…as vivid as the colours themselves’ according to the Express. I couldn’t have put it better myself, which is precisely why I have quoted them!!!BlogColorDesignReszd40%Image (744)

Victoria writes so well and shares her fascination and passion for the world of colour so easily with the reader. She scours the world for little-known facts about colour from the Neolithic ochre mines of the Luberon in France or Sienna in Tuscany, Italy to the aboriginal ochre traders from Arnhemland and the Tiwi Islands in the Top End; Alice Springs in Central Australia; the Flinders Ranges in South Australia and the Campbell Ranges in Western Australia.

For example, the colours, Black and Brown, are steeped in prehistory and stories in this particular chapter range from prehistoric cave art, charcoal willow and early mascara to the history of lead pencils, including Derwent Pencils and the Pencil Museum in Keswick, Conté’s crayons and Chinese pencils; the manufacture of Egyptian and Chinese inks (the latter, also known confusingly as Indian ink) from soot, mixed with gum or resin respectively, and medieval inks from wasps nests, producing galls in oak trees; and natural dyes (again, the fading oak galls and alum; and the darker, more permanent logwood) and the dubious use of mommia brown, made from dead Egyptians!

There are so many more fascinating stories, illustrated with line drawings and a few colour plates, about the other colours: White, Red, Orange, Yellow, Green, Blue, Indigo and Violet, that this book is essential reading for anyone interested in history, art and colour!

The same author has also turned her attention to the semi-precious  and precious gemstones and jewels, including Amber, Jet, Pearl, Opal, Peridot, Emerald, Sapphire, Ruby and Diamond (the last four being precious gemstones), with equally fascinating histories and anecdotes. Buried Treasure: Travels Through The Jewel Box by Victoria Finlay 2006 (photo above)  is another terrific read!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (744) - Copy

The Natural Paint Book: A Complete Guide to Natural Paints, Recipes and Finishes by Lynn Edwards and Julia Lawless 2002

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This book deals exclusively with natural paints and finishes with chapters on the story of paint; the environmental and health consequences of our choices concerning paint products; and a swag of natural paint recipes using quark (milk curd, the basis of casein paints), lime, borax, cellulose glue, linseed oil, plant dyes and tannins, beeswax, egg yolk and egg white, gum arabic, gesso, and even lager beer!

The book then details a large number of creative decorative techniques and effects, including roller fidgeting; shading; colour washing; layering; sponging; creating texture with a roller ; stippling; dragging and combing; rag rolling, frottage and bagging;  stencilling; wax resist; freehand painting; glazework; oil finishes; liming with wax; distressed casein; clay, Venetian  and coloured natural gypsum plasters; and frescoes.

There is a section on the art of Feng Sui; the principles of decoration (space, style and features, light and lighting, colour, materials and harmony and contrast), as well as design suggestions for interior decoration of each room of the home. This is a very useful book for artists wanting to make their own paints, as well as people wishing to use natural paints in their homes.

I have already covered Colour in Nature by Penelope Farrant 1999 in my post: https://candeloblooms.com/2017/08/01/our-beautiful-earth-part-four-natural-history-books-reference-guides/.

Design

While many of my books on embroidery, knitting and appliqué have separate chapters on the principles and elements of design, I have always loved the following book:

The Textile Design Book: Understanding and Creating Patterns Using Texture, Shape and Colour by Karin Jerstorp and Eva Köhlmark 1988;

I have always loved this practical and inspiring book!BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (751) While specifically written for textile designers, its exercises with sketching unconventional and natural materials; colour; texture; patterns (including stripes, squares, borders and stylised decorations) and design simplification are pertinent to any design medium from painting to collage; fabric and clothing design and dyeing; knitting and weaving; embroidery, patchwork and applique; pottery and jewellery, glass and paper craft; and even interior design and architecture.

Alice Starmore’s Charts for Color Knitting by Alice Starmore 1992/ 2011

While specifically written for knitters, I found all the charts in this book very applicable for cross-stitch (and weaving) as well.BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (752)

There are traditional (Norway, Sweden and Finland; Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania; Russia; and South America) and adapted patterns from textiles and other arts like Japanese porcelain and Celtic Metalwork (Celtic; Greece; the Caucasus; Middle East and Far East) and Alice’s original, topical geometric and nature-inspired patterns covering:  Birds and Flowers; Sea and Shoreline; and The Inner Landscape.

Allover patterns; single motifs; and vertical panels and horizontal borders are included for each section and there are practical instructions for incorporating all these into unique designs. The book starts with a section on Designing Patterned Sweaters and finishes with a A Word on Colour. This is an excellent source book for all craftspeople interested in design.

Inspiration

Sources for inspiration are infinite and only limited by your imagination! Where you find your inspiration is really determined by your art practice, as well as your interests. For example, I really enjoy hand embroidery, so some of my sources listed below include books involving line and repetition of pattern, as embroidery is really drawing with thread. For example, books on Mehndi (Henna Art), Celtic Artwork, Pen Illustrations, Zentangles and Mandalas. I also find tattoo art and the abstract patterning of linoprinting inspirational. My interest in toymaking is inspired and informed by books about fantastical creatures, medieval bestiaries, symbolism and children’s novels. My interest in gardening, nature, birds, archaeology and history; and reading, many books of which I have already described in previous book posts, also inspires my work and let’s not forget that modern-day marvel, the internet, including Pinterest, which encompasses information and inspiring ideas from all over the world and over many different time periods. Here is a brief selection of some of the books in my library, which I have found useful, but first, a final word:BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (763)As with the previous book, cross-fertilisation of ideas from a number of different art and craft practices is very beneficial. For example, I have two tiny Paper Salon Catalogues, (photo above and below) which illustrate the various patterns of rubber stamps, available for purchase and used to decorate stationery, greeting cards, envelopes and invitations.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (762) While excellent for advertising, I also have found them to be a wonderful source of ideas for embroidery patterns, and while the patterns are obviously trademarks of paper salon, the designs can be tweaked for originality and will often be thus anyway with the different type of medium and techniques. Here is a sample page, page 7 of the pink book:BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (761) which I used for my French cushion design, a gift for my neighbour’s 60th French-themed birthday!Blog Printemps20%Reszd2015-09-15 16.19.29Nature

Another useful pattern book, complete with a downloadable CD, is: 5000 Flower and Plant Motifs by Graham Leslie McCallum 2011, which includes designs from different geographical areas, historical time periods and artistic styles (Mesopotamian; Egyptian; Greek; Romanesque Byzantine; Medieval; Islamic; Chinese; Japanese; Folk; Art Nouveau and Art Deco) and subject areas: Flowers and Leaves; Fruit and Vegetables; Nuts, Seeds and Cereals; and Trees.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (764) The designs can be copied, enlarged, traced or developed further for creative use in any field from embroidery to ceramics, woodwork and metal work. There are also a number of border patterns and an index in the back.

This book is an excellent source for inspiration, especially if you are a keen gardener as well!  From this book, it’s a short hop to combining those patterns with the following book:

2000 pattern Combinations: A Step-by-Step Guide to Creating Pattern: For Graphic, Textile and Craft Designers by Jane Callender 2011

BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (768)Slightly more complex, this book discusses a huge variety of technical aspects: Tiles, Tessellations and Grids; Basic Geometric Shapes and their Positioning; Bold Geometric Designs; Colour Theory; Symmetry;  Varying Scale, Tonal Contrasts and Building up Colour; Borders and Corners; The Use of Diagonals and Checks; Abstraction; Disguising the Repeat and Hiding the Motif; Backgrounds; Emphasing Line; Overlaying Colour and Playing with Tone; Shadowing; Shibori; Dots and Splodges; Links; and Damask Patterns.

Art Forms in Nature by Ernest Haekel 1904/ 2014;

Ernest Haeckel (1834-1919 )is a favourite of mine for his meticulous and other-worldly illustrations of life’s miracles.BlogColorDesignReszd2517-11-30 11.40.12While the book begins with chapters on his professional life and his devotion to art and science, as well as instructions for viewing his pictures, and finishes with biographical notes and a list of plates, the majority of the book is devoted to Haeckel’s amazing artworks, reproduced on 100 black-and-white and colour plates, which inspire a sense of wonder and an appreciation of the beauty of nature and all its inhabitants.

Artistic Designs

The Mandala Book: Patterns of the Universe by Lori Bailey Cunningham 2010

This is a fascinating book, which explores universal patterns and geometric forms in nature: circles and radials; dyads; triangles and squares; pentagoms and hexagons; and patterns including branching, cycles, waves and fractals.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (774) Its explanations are based on the concept of the mandala, which is defined as ‘an integrated structure around a unifying centre’( page 6), a symbol of unity and wholeness in many religions, and an expression of life itself.

There are some wonderful photographs and images in this book, which really get you thinking and inspire a myriad of possibilities for the next artwork! The book finishes with a selection of mandalas to colour in.

The Celtic Art Source Book by Courtney Davis 1988

The Celts were masters of symbolism and decorative stone and metal carving and knotwork.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (777) Like the Islamic faith today, copying or portrayal of the works of the creator (plant, animal, fish, reptile, bird, mammal and man) was forbidden, so the artistic representation of natural creatures is highly stylised and abstracted, with body parts intertwined in intricate patterns.

I love the abstract patterns, the spirals and clever interlacings and the symbolism and mythology behind their artwork.  This book describes key patterns and knotwork designs, like the Thread of Life, the Sacred Dance and the Celtic Cross, as well as spirals, the cosmic symbol; zoomorphic ornamentation and Celtic myths and legends.

Throughout the book are wonderful black-and-white and colour illustrations of their artwork, including borders and calligraphy.

The Art of Mehndi by Sumatra Batra 1999

There are some wonderful symbolic designs and patterns employed in the art of mehndi or henna body painting, which has been practised for over 5000 years in India, North Africa, South East Asia and the Middle East.BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (782) Spanning many different countries and religions, it encompasses a wide variety of styles from the fine floral and paisley Indian patterns, the larger floral Arabic motifs drawn on hands and feet, and the bold geometric shapes of African designs. This book describes the history, use and customs and symbolic meanings in each area, including its use in the contemporary Western world, as well as giving practical advice about its manufacture, application and techniques.

However, the best part of this book are the patterns themselves: the individual motifs; spirals and vines and designs for fingers; wrist cuffs, armbands and anklets; hands and feet; necklaces and chokers; and even designs for the back! It includes a list of resources in the back. Not only is it a much more acceptable (in my mind anyway!) and less permanent and damaging  alternative to tattoo art, but like the latter provides much inspiration for other art forms involving line work like hand embroidery and graphic art.

I loved the images in this book and could easily wear them in an appropriate situation, especially if I was younger! Maybe, I am a closet tattoo wearer after all, but I still prefer the monochromatic nature of henna art- to my mind, it is far more elegant, understated and visually appealing then the multi-coloured mishmash of contemporary tattoos!

One Zentangle a Day: A 6-Week Course in Creative Drawing for Relaxation, Inspiration and Fun by Beckah Krahula 2012

Another way to get the creative juices flowing is Zentangle Art. BlogColorDesignReszd30%Image (785)A more sophisticated and contemporary form of doodling, this meditational art form is also often monochromatic in nature, but can also involve colour. Zentangles are defined as ‘miniature abstract works of art, created from a collection of nonrepresentational patterns on a 8.9 cm square piece of paper called a tile’ (Page 13).

The Zentangle process is described on page 25:BlogColorDesignReszd50%Image (786)

It is unplanned, limitless and judgement-free, as there are never mistakes, only a constant unfolding of surprises. Below is my free-form zentangle:BlogColorDesignReszd25%Image (787)

Materials can include thick art paper zentangle tiles (Tiepolo) and sketch pads, drawing pencils (2H and 2B) and white pastel pencils; black pigma micron pens (sizes 005, 01 and 05), Sakura gel pens, watercolours, gelatos (opaque paint sticks), Inktense colored pencils and water-soluble oil pastels, copic sketch markers, Pentel colour brush sets, an ampersand clayboard, plexiglass, gum Arabic and a protractor, although zentangles can really be drawn with anything on anything! Here is my Zentangle Tortoise:BlogColorDesignReszd75%Image (793) - CopyThis book progresses over a six week period with daily practice with chapters on the basics; tangles and value patterns;and  geometric and organic patterns; to understanding and using colour; defining and using style; paper batik and zendalas; and techniques for monoprinting, creating ensembles, painting fabric and using resin, and the use of calligraphy and folk patterns, as well as providing an inspiration gallery in the back. My daughter Jenny is a very accomplished Zentangler, as can be seen on the cover of her CD of original songs.BlogCreativity140%ReszdImage copyChildren’s books, art books, in fact any books, are wonderful sources of inspiration and are the subject of my next post next week. Until then… Happy Dreaming!

 

 

Murrah Lagoon

Last June, we had a wonderful day out, exploring the Murrah River and Murrah Lagoon by canoe. We had long wanted to visit this area, as there is nothing more alluring than places, which are difficult to access. In our first two years in Candelo, there was a problem with the access road via Goalen Head, so a visit to Murrah Lagoon entailed a 2.2 km long walk via the beach, north from Goalen Head and back, which really required a full day outing….unless you had a canoe!!

Having recently initiated our canoe locally with a paddle down Back Lake, Merimbula, we were ready and raring to go!! Here is a closeup photograph of Murrah Lagoon and Murrah River from our map.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0316But first, a little factual information about the Murrah River! The Murrah River drains an area of 195 square kilometres of the South Coast of New South Wales, just north of the Bega Valley. The upper catchment consists of two creeks: Dry River and Katchencarry Creek, which drain from the steep headwaters of the escarpment, meet at Quaama to form the Murrah River, which then progresses 5 km downstream to join Pipeclay Creek, a tributary from the north, which drains the rounded foothills. The Murrah River then flows 12 km through the bedrock-confined valley and state forest to the lowland plains, where the valley widens and the river comes under a tidal influence.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0324BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0322We dropped the canoe in at the bridge crossing on the Tathra-Bermagui Road, 10 km south of Bermagui at low tide, wading and dragging the canoe for the first stretch of very shallow water, past river regeneration work, with huge wooden pylons shoreing up eroded river banks,BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0332BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0335BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0330BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0699 to a huge gum on the bend of the river, where we joined the main part of the river.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0342BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0347It was a beautiful paddle down the river, past Striated Herons and Great Egrets,BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0354BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0391 to the lagoon with its perfect reflections,BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0352BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0372BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0394BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0398 and mouth of the Murrah River, where it meets the ocean,BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0433BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0452BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0518 the Murrah Headland and Murrah Beach.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0418BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0417BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0442 We walked across to the beach to join this lucky Pied Oyster-Catcher and looked north to Murrah Head,BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0428 and south, past farming properties, to the giant black boulders of Goalen Head.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0423BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0421BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0420 The water was so crystal clear and and a deep deep green.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0443BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0460BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0583 We dragged our canoe up onto a tiny sandy cove.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0446BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0467Tucked in behind the headland, on a sheltered slope, right on the river mouth, is Thubbul, the holiday home of well-known architect, Philip Cox, and his partner, journalist Janet Hawley.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0439 Philip bought the property 45 years ago and built a series of pavilions (detached contemporary bungalows), connected by a central walkway and surrounded by an English style garden, within a spotted gum forest with an under-storey of macrozamias. Other native vegetation includes: Yellow box, ironbark and swamp mahogany; banksias, casuarinas and westringeas; and a variety of heath, reeds and grasses.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0464 The low buildings and garden blend so well into the landscape that they are in fact very private and have a low impact on the natural environment.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0546For more information, please see: http://www.abc.net.au/local/photos/2013/01/31/3680300.htm or read A Place on the Coast by Philip Cox and Janet Hawley 1997.  See: https://www.abebooks.com/book-search/isbn/0186430337/.

BlogMurrahReszd50%GetFileAttachment (3) It is such a lovely position for a beach holiday home. Keeping to the beach, we skirted the edge of the rocky platforms to eat lunch out on the headland. In the first photo below, we are north of Murrah Headland, looking back to Thubbul.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0481BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0540BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0516 We looked north to the water tank and tall pines on the headland at Bermagui in the distance;BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0503 back over the beautiful Murrah Lagoon,BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0565 and south to Goalen Head.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0555BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0529 The geology on the Far South Coast of New South Wales is so impressive and I love the native westringa!BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0525BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0507 What a wonderful place to spend your holidays!!BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0567BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0495Soon, it was time to return, so we headed back in the canoe, passing a long-time free camping site behind the beach, and negotiating the various channels back to the bridge.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0611BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0612 It only took one hour and we were very fortunate in that the tide was coming in, so there was no wading at the end.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0652BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0636BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0657BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0656We decided to explore a little up the river beyond the bridge, past river oaks and grasses, where we saw Pied Cormorants, Chestnut Teals and  Black-Fronted Dotterels!BlogMurrahReszd25%IMG_0667BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0689On our return to the bridge, we had stopped midstream to chat to a man in a kayak, who had been camping at the free campsite on the lagoon.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0661 He told us a bit about the area and informed us that the Goalen Head access to Murrah Beach (via Hergenhans Road off the Tathra-Bermagui Rd) was now open, so we drove down there on our way south:BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0701BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0704 past beautiful coral trees (Erythrina)BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0732BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0731 to the end of the road and the southern end of Murrah Beach, where a cheeky Yellow Robin greeted us.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0729BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0707BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0705BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0724 I loved these photos of the grass seedheads and the lichen-covered rocks and black boulders of Goalen Head to the south in the golden late afternoon light.BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0713BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0712BlogMurrahReszd20%IMG_0708It is so good to know that we can now walk up the beach to the headland, though we will always remember our beautiful canoe trip down the Murrah River!

For more on the Murrah River and the surrounding Mimosa Rocks National Park, including its early history, please see  http://www.clw.csiro.au/publications/technical99/tr54-99.pdf.

It is also probably worth, checking out the NPWS Management Plan for Mimosa Rocks National Park, just to the south (Goalen Head), for a review of the local native flora and fauna. See: http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/research-and-publications/publications-search/mimosa-rocks-national-park-plan-of-management and http://www.environment.nsw.gov.au/resources/planmanagement/final/20110246MimosaRocksNPfinal.pdf.

Next week, I will be introducing our Drawing and Art Library!

 

Bountiful Beautiful Butterfly Bushes: Buddleias: January’s Feature Plant

My first monthly feature plant for the year are the beautiful, bountiful buddleias, which are in full bloom this month. Also spelt Buddlejas and known as Butterfly Bush, due to its popularity with butterflies; Summer Lilac and Bombsite Plant (see later), they were named by Linnaeus after Reverend Adam Buddle (1660-1715), an English botanist and taxonomist, who produced 36 volumes dedicated to British native flora (volumes 14 to 36 about mosses alone)!BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-11 09.56.33They belong to the Foxglove family Scrophulariaceae (Buddlejaceae), with the genus containing at least 100 species (some sources number 140) and numerous decorative cultivars. They hail from four continents: Asia; North and South America: 60 species from Southern USA to Chile; and Africa, with no buddleias native to Europe or Australasia.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-10 19.02.53Please note that because I inherited my buddleias, which were already well-established in our garden, when we arrived, I do not know their names, though I assume they are all forms of B. davidii, hence my photographs will be identified solely by their colour!

While I will try to be consistent with my spelling, generally restricting myself to using ‘buddleia’, the odd ‘buddleja’ might still slip in, especially when the latter spelling is used in the names of plants or plant collections!

Description

Large, sprawling, deciduous (temperate climes) or evergreen shrubs (tropical areas) shrubs, usually less than 5 metres tall, though they can reach 9 metres tall.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-03 10.24.44Long, narrow, lanceolate leaves, arranged in opposite pairs, except for B. alternifolia, in which the leaves are arranged alternately. Leaf size varies from 1 to 30 cm long. The leaves are often crepe-textured with pale, sometimes downy, undersides. Some species are silvery grey, while others are a dull matte green.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.24.57Buddleias are grown for their flowers. Many have long, nectar-rich flower spikes, but some occur in spherical heads or loose clusters. The Asiatic species have terminal panicles, 10 to 50 cm long, and tend to be pastel pink or mauve, while the American species have cymes, forming small globose heads, which are often red, orange or yellow. Many cultivars have deeper colours, including a rich reddish-purple.BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-24 17.47.45 Each individual flower is tubular and divided into four spreading lobes (petals), 3 to 4 mm across. The corolla length again varies according to the species. Asiatic species have a 10 mm long corolla, while American species vary from 3 to 30 mm, the latter having long red flowers, pollinated exclusively by hummingbirds. Some species are fragrant and strongly honey-scented, attracting not only butterflies, but also moths and bees.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.40.29Flowering times vary according to the species, but generally they flower from Spring to Autumn. We had our first bloom in mid-November last year.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-05 17.17.59The fruit is a small capsule, 1 cm long and 1 to 2 mm diameter with numerous small seeds.

Use and Care

Buddleias are usually grown for their flowers, as a feature plant and as a butterfly food plant, though B. davidii yields dyes (black and green from mixed flowers, leaves and stems, while the flowers alone produce an orange-gold to brown colour); and B. officinalis and B. asiaticum are used in traditional Chinese and Korean medicine and. See: http://www.chineseherbshealing.com/butterfly-bush/.

They are extremely hardy and tough, the deciduous species being hardier than the evergreens, though none will tolerate prolonged severe Winters. They are incredibly easy to grow and undemanding, tolerating salty air, drought, shade, urban pollution and most soil types, though they have a preference for chalky and limey soils.

Best in full sun on a moist, fertile well-drained soil, they grow incredibly quickly and some species can become invasive (more later).

They spread easily by seed and can be propagated easily by half-hardened soft wood cuttings taken in late Spring and early Summer. Cut a 15 cm new shoot, just as it is beginning to harden up, trim below the leaf node and nip out the top, then remove any large leaves. Dip the cut end into hormone rooting powder or honey (though it really doesn’t need it!) and plant in a 50/50 mixture of horticultural sand and compost.

They should be deadheaded constantly throughout the flowering season to encourage more flowers and prevent self-seeding and then pruned back to within 3 to 6 inches of the old wood in very early Spring, around crocus time, removing all dead wood. I am referring to the most common Butterfly Bush, B. davidii, here.

Pests include capsid bugs, caterpillars, nematodes (when grown in sandy soils) and red spider mite (especially during droughts). Neem Oil is a good organic treatment for all infestations. Buddleias can also experience root rot, if growing in swampy ground, and downy mildew, if grown in a cool climate with extended periods of rain.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.16.16Species and Cultivars

B. globosa : Orange Ball Tree

See: https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/2453/Buddleja-globosa/Details

Buddleias are mostly 20th century plants, except for Buddleja globosa, which was introduced to Britain from Chile in 1774. It is semi-evergreen, 5m tall and wide, and produces highly fragrant, honey-scented, orange globular inflorescences on branches from the previous season’s growth.

B. colvilei : Himalayan Butterfly Bush/ Tree Buddleia See: https://lambley.com.au/plant/buddleja-colvilei and http://www.louistheplantgeek.com/a-gardening-journal/802-buddleja-colvilei.

2 to 6 metres tall deciduous shrub or small tree with dark pink flowers in Summer.

B. paniculata   See: http://www.buddlejacollection.com/plants/paniculata/

Deciduous 6 metre tall shrub from East Asia and Northern India.

B. alternifolia:    Weeping Butterfly Bush/ Alternate-Leaved Butterfly Bush or Fountain Butterfly Bush

A weeping, semi-deciduous, 5 metre tall shrub, native to North-West China (Kansu), which also produces flowers on older wood, and whose leaves are arranged alternately along the stems. For an image, see: https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/2441/Buddleja-alternifolia/Details and https://lambley.com.au/plant/buddleja-alternifolia-argentea.

B. asiatica:      Bai Bei Feng     or Dog Tail/ Asian Butterfly Bush.

See: https://wildlifeofhawaii.com/flowers/904/buddleja-asiatica-dogtail/

A 3 metre tall and wide evergreen shrub, whose dried and powdered root is used to make a fermented liquor, used as an abortifacient and to treat skin problems in traditional Chinese medicine.

B. officinalis:  Mi Meng Hua

See: https://www.rhs.org.uk/Plants/85046/Buddleja-officinalis/Details

A 2.5 to 4 metre tall, early Spring-flowering, semi-evergreen shrub, native to East Asia and Western China, whose flowers (dried or fresh) are used to make a tea used in the treatment of ophthalmic conditions eg Corneal Opacity; Glaucoma and Nebula. The leaves, flowers and roots contain a large variety of flavonoid, triterpenoid and iridoid glycosides, which have been shown to repair damaged cell membrane of lens, prevent protein denaturation in the lens, reduce lens opacity and restore vision.

In traditional Korean medicine, the flowers and flower buds are also used to treat eye problems, as well as cramps and spasms caused by problems with the intestine, bladder or stomach eg Irritable Bowel Syndrome. The leaves are used to treat gonorrhoea, hepatitis and hernias.

The flowers of B.officinalis are also used to dye rice yellow in sticky rice dish, Hao Leng, and Five Coloured Rice, Wu Se Fan.BlogEndofSpring20%Reszd2015-11-19 17.17.04B. davidii (B. variabilis)

The most popular cultivated Buddleia species and a semi-evergreen, open arching shrub, 1.2 to 4.6 metres tall and wide. It is native to Central China (Sichuan and Hubei provinces) and Japan.

It was introduced to Kew in 1896 (180 years after Buddle’s death) and was named after another clergyman, a French missionary called Père Armand David (1826-1900), who travelled over 7000 miles by foot in Asia and was the first European to see it flowering on stony rocky slopes in China. David collected 1500 plants in his travels, including 250 new species and 11 new genera, including the Handkerchief Tree, Davidia involucrata.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.44.01B. davidii is highly invasive and colonises dry open ground very quickly, including railway track sidings (see http://www.bbc.com/news/magazine-28196221); derelict factories and urban bombsites, hence its name, the Bombsite Plant.

Both the species and its cultivars have been banned in many states in the United States of America (eg Oregon and Washington), and it certainly has naturalised very successfully in Northern Australia.

There are interspecific hybrids like Buddleja ‘Lochinch’, a cross between B. davidii and B. fallowiana; and B. x weyeriana, a cross between B. davidii and B. globosa; and at least 180 B. davidii cultivars.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-02 19.04.05Some of the most popular garden cultivars are Royal Red (rich magenta), Black Knight (dark purple) and Empire Blue (small blue spikes), all three being taller older varieties, as well as Sungold (golden yellow) and Pink Delight, the latter bred in Holland in 1990, a compact shrub with silvery foliage and fragrant long, pure pink flower spikes. Dartmouth is another tall hybrid, 5 metres tall, with magenta-purple hand-shaped blooms, whose spikes radiate from one ‘palm’.

There are compact varieties, suitable for smaller gardens, like the pink Peacock ; Purple Emperor; Adonis Blue; Marbled White; and Camberwell Beauty (like a dwarf Dartmoor), the last four named after British butterflies. Nanho Blue (blue) and Nanho Purple (purple) are both dainty hybrids, only 1.5 metres tall, with delicate long slender flower spikes.

Other hybrids include: African Queen (dark purple); Blue Horizon (clear blue); Petite Indigo (lavender- blue); Darent Valley, Nanho White, White Profusion and White Bouquet– all white; and Opera (pink). See: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Category:Buddleja_hybrids_and_cultivars; and https://www.plantdelights.com/blogs/articles/butterfly-bush-buddleia-davidii-plant-buddleja for more species and hybrids.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.32.16In the United Kingdom, there are 4 NCCPG national collections, including:

Peter Moore (http://bredbypetermoore.co.uk/) of Longstock Park Nursery (https://leckfordestate.co.uk/nursery) has been breeding more compact (1 to 2 meters tall), sterile buddleias for over 20 years, which flower for a longer period without self-seeding. He produces 50 Buddleia crosses each year, trialling the most promising hybrids in the garden, and spends 10 hours every week, deadheading all the Buddleias in the collection. Longstock Park Nursery has two Plant Heritage Collections, one of Clematis viticella, the other of Buddleias, as well as holding the Gilchrist Collection of Penstemons.BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.28.19The Buddleja Collection started as a deer- and rabbit-proof screening hedge along the old tennis court and now contains 160 species and cultivars, some of them tender. The aim is to conserve, grow, document and celebrate buddlejas growing in the United Kingdom. See :https://leckfordestate.co.uk/nursery-plants/buddleja-stock-list for the stock list of Buddlejas held.BlogBugsBBB20%Reszd2015-12-07 09.39.19The collection includes:

Sugar Plum: a compact form of B. davidii, with the reddest flowers of all buddleias;

Pink Pagoda: a pale pink form of B. x weyeriana;

Blue Chip: 0.6 to 0.9 metre high compact shrub with lavender-blue flowers with sterile seed; and

Silver Anniversary: A cross between B. loricata from South Africa and the lilac-pink B. crispa from Northern India, Bhutan, Nepal, Pakistan, Afghanistan and China, with the best silver foliage of any hardy buddleja. See: http://www.buddlejacollection.com/collections/  for the whole collection. BlogButterflyHeaven 20%Reszd2015-12-01 15.30.47Here is another useful link for further reading on Buddlejas: http://www.buddlejagarden.co.uk/linx.html.

Next week, we are visiting the beautiful Murrah Lagoon!

 

My Love Affair With Birds: Part Two: Reasons

So, what do I love about birds? Here are a few reasons:

Their ancient lineage and evolution: I still marvel that birds evolved from dinosaurs (Archaeopteryx) and that there is so much colour and variation in the bird world! Below are photos of a mural and a model of the Miocene Thunder Bird, also known as the Demon-Duck of Doom, Bullockornis planei, a member of the Dromornithids.

Their huge diversity:

Colour: We are so lucky in Australia to have so many brightly coloured birds with amazing colour combinations : For example, the multicoloured Rainbow Lorikeets, Noisy Pittas and Eastern Rosellas (first photo); Crimson Rosellas (royal blue and deep red) (second photo); King Parrots (emerald green and bright red) (third photo);  and Galahs (pink) (fourth photo); Satin Bowerbirds (the male is a metallic blue, while the female has a combination of greens) (fifth photo); Regent Bowerbirds (the males are gold and black with a red dot on their forehead); the Scarlet Robin, Golden Whistler and Blue Wren, all named for obvious reasons; the metallic green head of the male Chestnut Teal (sixth photo); the deep blue and red of the Purple Swamphen (seventh photo); and the iridescent blue-green flash of a Black Duck’s wing (eighth photo).

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (842) - Copyblognovgarden20reszd2016-11-06-11-35-43BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5860BlogLoveBirds2013-07-10 16.48.36BlogSpringGardenReszd2017-09-01 15.27.41BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4184BlogLoveBirds50%aug 2010 304BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_1588I also love the pink of flamingos (first photo), the blue of Azure Kingfishers (second photo), Pheasant Peacocks and Blue and Gold Macaws (third photo) and the fantastically coloured plumage of Birds of Paradise and Mandarin Ducks.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (875) - CopyBlogAutumngardenReszd2017-04-15 16.56.10BlogLoveBirds50%Image (881) - CopyPattern: There is also so much diversity in pattern from the dots of Pardalotes (first photo), the chevrons on the tails of King Parrots (second photo), the herringbone pattern of the chest plumage of Wood Ducks (third photo) and the stripes of Fan-tailed Cuckoos, Hawks and Pink Eared Ducks (fourth photo). I also love the contrasts in the Red-Breasted Goose (fifth photo);BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.38.31BlogJanGarden20%ReszdIMG_5939BlogLoveBirds2014-09-22 17.47.34BlogLoveBirds2013-07-15 16.42.53BlogLoveBirds50%Image (869) - CopySize: Ranging from the large emus, ostriches, cassowaries, Wedge-Tailed Eagles, White Bellied Sea Eagles; Scrub Turkeys; Bustards; Palm Cockatoos and Black Cockatoos to tiny little SBBs (short for ‘small brown birds‘, which are notoriously difficult to identify, hence the group label!) Below are photos of a thornbill, wren and emu.BlogMarchGarden20%ReszdIMG_0753BlogLoveBirds2013-06-29 13.49.30BlogLoveBirds20%IMG_4093Form: Again, there is so much variety from long and streamlined (darter) to large and chunky (eagle);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3507BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2444Beak Shape: A keystone in Charles Darwin’s Natural Selection theory with his studies on the variation of beak shape in finches (photos below in order are the Red-Browed Firetail Finch, the Crimson Finch and the Double-Barred Finch) and a natural correlationblogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-55-02BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9029BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0268 and leadup to:

Diet and Feeding Habits:  Bill shape is directly related to diet, superbly shown by the photo below, the long curved bill of the Eastern Spinebill, perfect for accessing the nectar of the agapanthus flowers.

BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-24 12.37.58 Compare the short strong beaks of seed eating finches (photos above) to the rounded bills of dabbling ducks and mine-sweeping spoonbills (first photo), searching for fish, small crustaceans and water life; the long probing beaks of Bar-Tailed Godwits (second photo); the short hooked beaks of meat-tearing eagles and vultures and long hooked beaks of Sacred Ibis (third photo); the boat-shaped bills of Kookaburras (fourth photo); the sharp points of diving petrels and gannets; the curved slim beaks of Rainbow Bee Eaters (fifth photo); and the strong nutcracking vices of King Parrots (6th photo) and cockatoos (7th photo), which strip fruit orchards, demolish bark in search of insects and crack open sheoaks and wheat grains;

BlogLoveBirds2014-11-06 13.34.55BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0097BlogLoveBirds50%midmay 019BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF9393BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9654

blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-20-18-06-12BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5596Habitats: Every niche and environment has its own particular birds from the polar penguins to the tropical birds of the equator and from mountains and forests to grasslands and farmlands, the river and the sea. BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3925BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF0363BlogLoveBirds25%Lost City 2013 264BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF2697Birds have also adapted very successfully to urban  environments, coexisting with mankind for thousands of years. Some examples of the human-bird relationship include:

Poultry for eggs, meat, fat and feather products– they include chickens, ducks, geese, quails and turkeys;

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847)Bird Aviaries and Companion Pets: Cockatoos, cockatiels, budgerigars and finches;BlogLoveBirds50%Image (847) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (850) - CopyOrganic Insect Control and Pollination;BlogSummers here 20%Reszd2015-11-28 19.23.45Falconry: Eagles and hawks for hunting;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2374BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5638Pigeon Post;BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4852Cormorants for catching fish;BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 240 and even….

Warning Bells: For example, the canary down the mine shaft to detect dangerously high carbon dioxide levels; and the dietary adaptations, changing migration patterns and extinction of bird species with climate change and habitat destruction.

Their habits:

Communication:

Where would the world be without bird song? Here in Candelo, I love waking up to the melodic trill of the resident blackbirds (first photo); the ‘Duke-Duke-Wellington’ of the Grey Thrush (second photo); the clear peal of the Crimson Rosella; the friendly warble of the magpie (third photo); and the beautiful song of the Pied Butcherbird (fourth photo).blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-19-09-54-36BlogAugustGarden20%Reszd2016-08-18 14.49.08BlogPeonypoppy20%Reszd2015-11-14 09.21.06BlogLoveBirds25%bris2013 148Spring is heralded by the sweet call of the Striated Pardalote (first photo), Summer: the manic ascending cry of the visiting Stormbirds, the descending trill of the Fan-Tailed Cuckoo and the deafening clamour of massing Little Corellas prior to their January departure (second photo); and Winter is definitely on the way, when you hear the cold clear call of the currawongs (third photo).BlogSummerDays20%Reszd2015-12-27 12.39.01BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 21.14.56BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4394I also love the calls of the bush birds:

The Eastern Yellow Robin is the first bird to wake up, giving it its scientific name: Eopsaltria australis, the Ancient Greek for ‘Dawn-Harper’;BlogWinterGardenReszd2017-06-01 15.19.08The Bowerbirds have such a distinctive whirr and the male and female Eastern Whipbirds have a combined song – the males calling first, followed by the whip of the females;BlogMayGarden20%Reszd2016-05-21 14.18.38The Lyrebirds are the consumate masters of mimicry. It is a joy to sit and listen to their full repertoire from Black Cockatoos to Grey Thrush, Eastern Whipbirds, Grey Thrushes, Currawongs, Kookaburras, Eastern Yellow Robins and a variety of parrots. See: https://wildambience.com/wildlife-sounds/superb-lyrebird/. I also love watching their courtship displays! Their tail feathers really do look like a lyre!BlogBenBoydNP20%Reszd2015-03-31 14.06.01Some bird calls are not quite so melodic! For example, the raucous squawks of our Summer party cockatoos and corellas for a start! When I was younger, our resident peacocks would often instigate police visits late at night after telephone reports of women being murdered when the poor disturbed birds would fly out of their roosting trees, straight at our peaked roof and slide inelegantly down the corrugated iron, shrieking the whole way!

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On our trip to North Queensland, the loud chatter of the Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos of Old Laura and the mournful cry of the Stone Curlews, forebearers of imminent death according to local aboriginal legend, were very distinctive and prominent.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5250BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0062Courtship

Birds have an amazing repertoire of ways to attract a mate from vivid bright colours (usually the male plumage!) to their mating calls and incredible courtship displays eg Peacocks (photo below) and Birds-of-Paradise.BlogLoveBirds2015-01-27 11.58.55 Bowerbirds are also fascinating, building bowers in a north-south alignment, decorated with coloured objects, to attract females to watch his courting dance. blogsept-garden20reszd2016-09-25-09-50-40The Satin Bowerbird ( above) collects blue objects from blue Tobacco flowers and cornflowers to blue plastic pegs, milk bottle tops and biro lids, while the Great Bowerbird decorates its bower (below) with white bones and black river stones. They will even destroy other males’ bowers or steal their decorative objects to win ‘their bird’! Ross once timed the construction of a new bower from its demolished state- 40 minutes all up!BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4409 Monogamy:

While Satin Bowerbirds are notoriously flashy, fickle and womanising, their cousin, the Catbirds (photo) mate for life, as do swans, geese, whooping cranes, black vultures, eagles and ospreys, some owls, ravens, scarlet macaws and Atlantic Puffins.BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF7246

Nests and Eggs:

Again, so much diversity in nests from the huge platforms of eagles and messy loose and dodgy-looking conglomerations of twigs by magpies and herons, to the neat traditional bowls and intricate hanging palaces of scrub wrens. Some birds don’t even have nests!BlogCockatoo20c 2013 104 Parrots use tree hollows (photo above) and peregrines lay their eggs on rocky cliff ledges, while cuckoos (photo below) steal other bird species’ nests, the interloper cuckoo baby turfing its host siblings out of the nest as they hatch and keeping their poor smaller and frazzled host parents constantly busy, satisfying their boundless appetites!BlogMarchGarden40%ReszdIMG_0239 - Copy - Copy Below in order are the nests of Nankeen Kestrels; a Grey Fantail; a honeyeater and Zebra Finches.

BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1839blognovgarden20reszdimg_0435BlogLoveBirds50%Image (849) - CopyBlogLoveBirds2014-10-26 13.19.17I love all the different sizes, shapes, patterns and colours of bird eggs. Fortunately, egg collecting is a hobby of the past, but chemicals like DDT, as well as habitat destruction, not to mention feral animals, pose an enormous threat to birds like Peregrine Falcons.

Childrearing Practices:

While many birds support each other by feeding the incubating bird or sharing the feeding and guarding of the young fledglings, I love the role reversals within the bird world, where males often take on the important role of child rearing. The male scrub turkey and mallee fowl (first photo) build huge mounds, in which the female lays her eggs, then he carefully monitors and maintains the incubation temperature until the babies hatch and make their own way. They operate on the breeding strategy of ‘strength in numbers’, while male lyrebirds focus their energies on rearing one chick at a time, instructing their young in opera singing and dance performances. Male emus and cassowaries are also formidable primary carers of their young. In some bird species, rearing the next generation is a family responsibility with input from siblings form previous broods eg Superb Fairy Wrens.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6025BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 359BlogLoveBirds50%late sept 131BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF3468Flight and Motion:

Is it any wonder that many people aspire to a reincarnated life as a bird?! Not only can they walk and run, but also swim, dive and fly,  completely at home in all environments! The sight of a majestic eagle soaring the thermals high in the sky; the speed of a diving peregrine off a cliff or a tern or gannet into deep water; the flash of blurred green of a flock of musk lorikeets in full flight; the amazing aeronautical displays of huge flocks of budgerigars in the desert or starlings on dusk (see: https://video.nationalgeographic.com/video/short-film-showcase/flight-of-the-starlings-watch-this-eerie-but-beautiful-phenomenon); the incessant beat of wings of hummingbirds as they sip the nectar of flowers; the crazy chase of disturbed emus, the cute slow gangly waddle of penguins or puffins; the jaunty busy hop of bowerbirds… all these amaze me and fill me with awe! Even, and especially, that huge leap of faith, when a baby bird first learns to fly!BlogSummer GardenReszd20%2017-02-09 17.40.31.jpg Below in order: a Frigatebird; three pelicans; a Black-Necked Stork (Jabiru) and a White-Bellied Sea Eagle.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3989BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5695BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4549BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5758As do their migratory habits and patterns. The notion of a world without borders or passports is also very attractive to many humans, as exemplified in the films: Fly Away Home (http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0116329/). The distances travelled are mind-blowing! The Bird Airport at Shoalhaven Heads is very illuminating on the subject and is well worth a visit. I love this flying bird sculpture overlooking Corio Bay at Geelong, Victoria.BlogLoveBirds50%IMG_4277 BlogLoveBirds2514-03-12 16.36.07The Spine-Tailed Swifts, which speckled the Summer skies at Dorrigo, flew all the way from Eastern Siberia and Northern Asia, up to10 000 km away, and we would often see long, long, black clouds on the horizon, just above seawater level, of migratory Short-Tailed Shearwaters, some of whom would not make it, their exhausted carcasses washed up on the seashore.

The highly-endangered Orange-Bellied Parrot flies from Tasmania to Geelong across the wild Bass Strait every year to feed on the samphire wetlands in Winter. The effect on bird life and migratory birds in particular, is my only reservation about wind turbines, especially on our coastline.

When we lived in Geelong, we loved visiting the Cheetham Wetlands and the Point Cook Coastal Park, a 500 hectare site on the western outskirts of Melbourne, including a 300 hectare marine sanctuary, which has been designated an Area of Importance by the Ramsar Convention of Wetlands. There have been over 200 species of birds recorded, including 34 migratory species. Every year, with peak numbers between September and March. thousands of migratory birds, from as far away as Siberia, Alaska and Japan, to feed upon the saltmarsh and wetlands here. I loved the photo below of The Tower, Bill Kelly’s Monument to Migration and Aspirations, with Melbourne, a city representing the ultimate expression of that dream with over 200 nationalities, in the background. BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 288BlogLoveBirds50%late may 2011 291Migration patterns are definitely changing with climate change, with many birds now over-Wintering in previously cooler areas or not travelling as far.

However, despite the fact that some birds will be driven to extinction, birds are the ultimate survivors. They are brilliant at camouflage and adapt readily to new environments, climates and different food sources. They have incorporated feral weeds like privet and duranta into their diet and have incredibly finely-tuned senses when it comes to water eg their sudden appearance when the salt Lake Eyre fills with water. Here is a final photo of The Tower, described above:

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I hope this post has given you an excellent idea of the reasons I love birds so much, as well as being a good introduction to the 2018 monthly posts on some of my favourite birds. Here is a general guide to the monthly roundup this year :

January: Cockatoos and Parrots: Sulphur-Crested, Blacks, Gang Gang, Corella, Galah, King, Crimson, Eastern, Rainbow, Musk, Cockatiels and Budgerigars;

February: Sea Birds: Gulls, Terns, Gannets, Oyster Catchers, Plovers and Dotterels, Turnstones, Stilts, Darters and Cormorants, Pelicans, Osprey and Sea Eagles;

March: Water Birds: Swans, Geese, Ducks, Grebes, Swamp Hens, Coots, Jacanas, Rails, Kookaburras, Kingfishers, Bee-Eaters, Dollar birds, Spoonbills, Ibis, Egrets, Herons, Brolgas and Cranes;

April: Birds of Prey: Eagles, Hawks, Goshawks, Falcons, Kites, and Kestrels;

May: Large Birds: Emus, Cassowaries, Scrub Turkeys, Coucals, Bustards and Stone Curlews

June: Medium-Sized Neutral-Coloured Birds: Magpies, Peewees, Crows, Ravens, Currawongs, Blackbirds, Thrushes, Butcherbirds, Drongoes, Choughs and Apostle Birds;

July: Rainforest Birds: Bowerbirds and Cat Birds, Rifle Birds, Fig Birds, Pittas and Chowchillas;

August: Clever Birds: Owls, Frogmouths and Cuckoos;

September: Small Birds: Robins, Wrens, Finches, Silvereyes, Thornbills and other SBBs, Pardalotes, Flycatchers and Fantails, Treecreepers, Chats, Mistletoe Birds, Swallows and Swifts;

October: Nectar Eaters: Honeyeaters, Spinebills, Wattlebirds and Friar Birds;

November: Song Birds: Lyrebirds, Whip Birds, Bell Birds and Whistlers;

December: Doves and Pigeons: Wonga, Brown, White, Topknot and Crested Pigeons; Fruit Doves; Peaceful Doves and Quails.BlogLoveBirds50%october 2011 305I have set the scene to one of my favourite Christmas songs, ‘The Twelve Days of Christmas’, starting with the refrain ‘On the first day of Christmas, my true love sent to me a Cockatoo in a Gum Tree!’

Posts will concentrate more on my personal experiences with these birds, with a few interesting or random facts thrown in, rather than detailed descriptions of appearance, call, behaviour, nesting, distribution etc, which can be gleaned from any good bird book. I hope you enjoy these bird posts!

Please Note: A Change of Plans!          23rd January 2018 

Unfortunately, due to the appropriation of both my bird posts by a larger collective site without my prior consent or crediting me (in fact claiming authorship as their own!), there will be no more bird posts for the time being, although I will still be continuing on with my normal posts.

My Love Affair With Birds: Part One

I have always loved birds, ever since my childhood, when Mum used to take us along to meetings of the local birdwatching group in Hobart. We also used to go on many picnics, furthering my fledgling interest in birds, as well as having our own home menagerie of peacocks, pheasants, guinea fowl, quail, ducks and chickens.

I was so fortunate when I married that my husband was also a keen ornithologist, having grown up on a farm bordering Lamington National Park in subtropical South-East Queensland. His uncle and aunts next door had a huge aviary, full of Satin Bowerbirds, a Major Mitchell cockatoo, galahs and corellas, the latter two neither local at the time, as well as a mixture of local parrots and little ground doves, who used to follow visiting children’s trailing fingers along the netting fence. When Ross was out mustering cattle on the steeply wooded slopes, he would often come upon a group of Glossy Black Cockatoos, quietly nibbling away at she-oak nuts.

We are both keen bushwalkers and are never without a pair of binoculars (Ross) and a camera with a good zoom lens (me)- until recently that is!!! We have had so many wonderful bird watching experiences together and as a family over the years, including the following:

1994 Overseas trip with our young family to the United Kingdom and France.

Highlights included:

Peter Scott’s Wildfowl Trust at Slimbridge on the River Severn: https://www.wwt.org.uk/wetland-centres/slimbridge/.

Photos below in order are: Mandarin Duck; European Goldeneyes; a pair of European Eiders with a Hooded Merganser on the right; and a trio of Hawaiian Nene Geese.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (856) - CopyBlogLoveBirds75%Image (856)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (855) - CopyBlogLoveBirds75%Image (855)Bird Hides and Wildlife Parks in England and Edinburgh, where we saw our first woodpecker and capercaillie (below);BlogLoveBirds50%Image (857)Staying at the Fair Isle Bird Observatory (http://www.fairislebirdobs.co.uk/), where we netted and banded birds and sat with puffins on the cliffs every evening. The other photos are of a Common Sandpiper and a falcon with Nick, the Deputy Warden of the Bird Observatory at the time; as well as daughter Jenny with puffins on the cliff.

Blog Whentheking20%Reszd2015-09-04 10.15.07Visiting the Bonxies of Hermaness and the cliff bird city of the Isle of Noss, Shetlands;BlogLoveBirds50%Image (859)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (879) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (866) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (860)For the boat trip to the island, we all had to wear hats in case we accidentally became targets, so our four year old had to wear this puffin cap!

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Gerald Durrell’s Rare and Endangered Wildlife Trust on  Jersey: https://www.durrell.org/ and https://www.durrell.org/wildlife/visit/; Below in order: Chilean Flamingoes; Red-Breasted Geese; a Crowned Crane from South and East Africa; a Pink Pigeon from Mauritius; and a Palawan Pheasant from the Philippines.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (875) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (869) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (868) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (871) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (872) - CopyThe flamingos of Étang du Fangassier in the Camargue, where I disgraced myself by commandeering the lookout telescope, which I mistakenly thought was public property, to the bewilderment of the French owners, who declared in response, ‘C’est bizarre!’BlogLoveBirds50%Image (863)BlogLoveBirds75%Image (874) - Copy1996 New Zealand :

Our introduction to a totally different set of birds, many adapted to years of isolation and many now threatened with extinction with the introduction of humans and feral animals. While it was far too late to meet Alice in Wonderland’s dodo, we did see kakapos, kakas, keas, kiwis , wekas, tuis and takahes, as well as many coastal birds. We visited:

Lake Te Anau Bird Sanctuary, South Island, where we saw kakas (mountain parrot), an Antipodes Island parrot; a kereru (NZ wood pigeon), takahes (like a giant swamp hen) and wekas; Here are photos of a kaka and a kereru.

BlogLoveBirds50%Image (864)BlogLoveBirds50%Image (877) - CopyAs well as the Pukaha Mount Bruce National Wildlife Centre (http://www.pukaha.org.nz/), just north of Masterton in the far south of the North Island, where they were saving highly endangered birds from extinction like the Chatham Island Robin. We saw Saddlebacks (first photo below), tuis ( a type of honeyeater), wekas (second photo below), kakas, red-capped parrots and takahes.BlogLoveBirds50%Image (863) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (862)1999 Lord Howe Island.

This World Heritage listed island off the east coast of Australia also has some very special birds, which have also experienced struggles to survive like the Lord Howe Island Wood Hen (photo below), as well as many regional variations in bird species from being isolated on an island for many years. For example, the currawong has a different call and the silver eye a different eye ring to their Australian cousins on the mainland.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (128)For my 40th birthday, we climbed to the top of Mt Gower, where we called Providence Petrels out of the sky to land at our feet and be picked up and cuddled! We also saw Red-tailed Tropic Birds wheeling in the skies above Malabar Hill and Emerald Doves and Wood Hens foraging on the forest floor.BlogLandmarkbirthdays50%ReszdImage (127)Armidale Years (1994-2003)

While the family was growing up, we explored and camped in a huge number of local National Parks, where we saw many birds eg Red-Rumped Parrots in our home garden; Peregrine Falcons at Kings Plains National Park; Turquoise Parrots en route to Kwiambal National Park; the Flame Robins, who visited Dangars Gorge every Winter (first photo below) and the delightful Eastern Spinebills, who revelled in the flowering heath of Wrights Lookout at New England National Park.Image (857) - Copy - CopyRoss ran guided natural history tours from the New England tableland, via the escarpment rainforests, right down to the sea at Coffs Harbour. Waterfall Way Tours introduced many guests in our self-contained cottages (Creekside Cottages), as well as Country Link visitors to the wonderful diversity of environments and bird life in our region. Here is a photo of a Red-Rumped Parrot.BlogCockatoo50%march 2 193Dorrigo Years (2003-2008)

Ross’s tour guiding experience also stood him in good stead for working as a National Park Discovery Ranger out of the World Heritage Dorrigo National Park Visitor Centre. Living on a bush block on the Dorrigo escarpment bordered by Bellinger River National Park, the link between Dorrigo National Park and New England National Park, we saw many beautiful rainforest birds on our property, including resident Wonga Pigeons (first photo below), Superb Lyrebirds, Eastern Whipbirds, Golden Whistlers (second photo below), Paradise Riflebirds, Satin and Regent Bowerbirds, Catbirds, King Parrots (third photo below) and Scrub Turkeys, who used to cadge at picnic tables at the visitor centre.BlogLoveBirds50%DSCF6508BlogLoveBirds50%Image (846)BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF4895BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF26972008 Australia Trip

After selling our farm at Dorrigo, we spent a whole six months camping and exploring our wonderful country. Here were some of the birding highlights, details of which I will elaborate in future bird posts:

Huge flocks of wild budgerigars (first photo) and cockatiels (second photo) wheeling in the outback (Mungindi and Longreach) and hot pink galahs drinking on the banks of the Thomson River.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2834BlogLoveBirds30%DSCF7043Townsville Bird Common: Jabiru, Comb-Crested Jacanas, Magpie Geese, Whistling Ducks, brolgas, pelicans and egrets (first photo) and Sacred Kingfishers (second photo);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0037BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0042Dunk Island: In order, Beach Stone Curlews, Orange-Footed Scrubfowl and Sunbirds;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0886BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0857BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0841Cairns: Crocodile Farm: Rose-Crowned Fruit Doves and Cassowaries;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1450BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1373Daintree River Cruise: Little Kingfisher (photo below); Azure Kingfisher; and Great Billed Heron;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1466Laura: Rainbow Bee Eaters; Red-Tailed Black Cockatoos ; Golden-Shouldered Parrots (first photo); Wedge-tailed Eagles (second photo); and Red-Winged Parrots (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5951BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1935BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1903Iron Range National Park and Portland Roads: Yellow-Bellied Sunbirds; Magnificent Riflebirds; Frilled Monarchs; Northern Brush Turkeys; Eclectus Parrots (first photo is a male); Shining Flycatchers (second photo); Double Eyed Fig parrots (third and fourth photos); and Large-Billed Gerygone;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2486BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2523BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2568BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2569Rest of Cape York: Brown Falcons, Nankeen Night Herons and Striated Herons; Yellow Honeyeaters and White-throated Honeyeaters;  Palm Cockatoos; Red-Winged Parrots; Stone Curlews; Bustards (first photo); Sarus Cranes (secondphoto); Great Bowerbirds (third photo) and their bowers (fourth photo); and Northern Scrub Turkeys (fifth photo). BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4119BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6688BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2912BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1853BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3491Lakefield National Park: Brolgas grazing and dancing (first photo); Green Pygmy Geese (second photo); Comb Crested Jacanas (third photo); Burdekin Ducks (Whiteheaded Shelduck); Magpie Geese feeding in the lotus lagoons (fourth photo); Azure, Forest and Sacred Kingfishers (fifth photo) and Blue-Winged Kookaburra; Golden-Headed Cisticola; White-bellied Sea Eagles and Ospreys surveying overhead; Black-Fronted Dotterels (sixth photo) at Hann Crossing and pelicans soaring high over the Nifold Plains;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5500BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5540BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5513BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5494BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5563BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5641Lotus Bird Lodge: a quiet Black-backed Butcherbird and a baby hand-reared Red-Winged Parrot on the verandah; Comb-Crested Jacanas (also known as Lotus Birds, after whom the bird lodge is named); a family of Papuan Frogmouths (photo below); and over 200 species of wading, migratory and resident wetland and grassland birds;BlogLandmarkbirthdaysPt2 25%ReszdIMG_5787BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5801Abattoir Swamp Bird Hide: First photo below: Red-Backed Fairy Wren; and Kingfisher Park Birdwatchers Lodge, Julatten, 1.5 hours north-west of Cairns: Over 350 species of birds, including 13 Wet Tropics endemic species. We saw Noisy Pittas (second photo below) and Emerald Doves here.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6752BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6770Atherton Tablelands: Victoria Riflebird and Golden-Whistlers, Lake Eacham; Hasties Swamp Bird Hide: Huge flocks of Magpie Geese (first photo), Whistling Ducks (second photo) and grebes;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8851BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8596Mission Beach: Cassowary sighting on the Dreaming Trail!BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9228

Tyto Wetlands, near Ingham : Crimson Finches (photo below); Whistling Ducks; Green Pygmy Geese; Great Egret and Peaceful Doves;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0179Artesian Bore at Burketown: Sarus Cranes (first photo); Jabirus (second photo), Royal Spoonbills; Richard’s Pippit; Snipes and plenty of ducks;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2270BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2335Katherine: Red Goshawks;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3564

Kakadu National Park: Yellow Water: Magpie Geese, Burdekin Ducks, Azure Kingfishers, Green Pygmy Geese; Rainbow Bee-Eaters (first photo); Whistling Ducks (second photo); Great Egret (third photo) and other egrets and ibis; and Darters (fourth photo); and Mamukala Wetlands and Bird Hide: Whistling Ducks, Black Ducks, Darters, Pied and Black Cormorants, Magpie Geese, and Lemon-Bellied Flycatcher;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4818BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5789BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5643BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5595Mary River: Huge flocks of Little Corellas, preyed on by Whistling Kites (first photo); Sulphur-Crested Cockatoos; Collared Rainbow Lorikeets (the northern race); and Forest Kingfishers and Blue-Winged Kookaburras (second photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5898BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_4351Corroboree, Bird and Annaburroo Billabongs and Leaning Tree Lagoon: Lots of similar Northern Territory birdlife, including a jabiru with three babies (one in photo below);BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6026Fogg Conservation Dam: A wonderful birdwatching site, just east of Darwin; Photos below in order: a pair of Straw-Necked Ibis; Burdekin Ducks; Green Pygmy Goose; and an Australasian Darter.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6042BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6090BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6101BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6100Ord River trip: Jabirus (now known as Black-Necked Storks) and Magpie Geese;BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8209BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_7772Parry’s Lagoon, another birding mecca; Photos below in order: Parry’s Lagoon; Huge flotillas of pelicans; a Pied Hero ; and a Comb-Crested Jacana.BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8367BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8397BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8344BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_8360Mornington Wilderness Lodge, Gibb River Road, WA : The highlight was definitely sighting the first Gouldian Finch family of the season (first photo), though we also saw Purple Crowned Wrens; Bustards; Long-Tailed and Scarlet Finches; Button Quails;  Partridge Pigeons (second photo) and Crested Pigeons (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0468BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_9310BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_0404Broome Bird Observatory: Double Barred Finches, Brown Honeyeaters, Great Bowerbirds and plenty of shorebirds; and further south, Deep Creek, Dampier Peninsula: Star Finches (first photo); and Ningaloo Reef: Emus (second photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1517BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_1732Skipjack Point, Francois Peron National Park (first photo): The entire beach was lined with huge flocks of Pied Cormorants (second photo), Crested Terns, Boobies and Pelicans. We also saw rare Thick-Billed Grass Wrens running across the road in and a Crimson Chat (third photo).BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2431BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2465BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_2255South-West Western Australia: Rock Parrots (first photo); Ringneck Parrots (second photo); Splendid Fairy-Wrens (third and fourth photos);  Common Bronzewings (fifth photo) and Carnaby’s Black Cockatoos (sixth photo).BlogCockatoo25%IMG_4087BlogCockatoo25%IMG_6556BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6163BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5193BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_3840BlogLoveBirds25%IMG_5596Ongerup, Western Australia: Mallee Fowl CentreBlogLoveBirds25%IMG_6020Bucket Birdwatching List

Our 2008 circumnavigation of Australia certainly was the trip of a lifetime and it was wonderful to see so many of our beautiful Australian birds in the wild, but we still have a few places we would like to visit, including:

A Desert Trip out to Broken Hill and Menindee Lakes to see the parrots;

Lake Eyre in wet season;

A bird tour of Papua New Guinea, especially to see the amazing Birds of Paradise; and an exploration of the Wallace Line, which divides the Asian birds from the Australian contingent.

Candelo  2015 – Present

Meantime, we are loving the prolific birdlife in Candelo, which have featured in former seasonal posts, as well as those of the surrounding mountain forests, farmland, national parks and coast. The noisy Little Corellas amass in huge flocks at this time of year, just prior to heading off, though we have yet to discover their destination!BlogFestiveSeason20%Reszd2015-12-25 21.14.56 We have a wonderful local birdwatching group, which has published two books, as well as three documented bird routes, about which I will write in a future post.BlogEnvtlBooksReszd30%Image (509)

Other great bird-related venues include the fabulous On the Perch; Potoroo Palace; and  Panboola, the Pambula Bird Sanctuary (photo below), where we saw a Gang Gang flock, grazing on the hawthorne berries.BlogFeb Garden20%ReszdIMG_2645It is great to see our youngest daughter, Caroline, following in our footsteps with our mutual love of birds! She has always loved them and has hand-reared budgies and cockatiels, as well as nursed enormous sick, though still feisty, roosters back to health with syringes of herbal concoctions. We were never allowed to get rid of any baby roosters and when we first moved to our bush block at Dorrigo, we had no chook pen and only a series of wire shelters to house our chooks and six roosters! One day, we watched a wedge-tailed eagle descending with the free range roosters in his sights and very foolishly and instinctively chased it away. Even though it may have been an effective way to reduce numbers, we would have had a challenge explaining why her roosters were dropped from the sky!!!BlogLoveBirds50%Image (865) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (864) - CopyShe is now studying a zoology degree, initially through Deakin University, Geelong, where she had some wonderful fieldwork opportunities from measuring fairy penguins for moulting studies; catching flighty red-capped dotterels; and making flycatcher nests to determine the effect of their practice of coating their nests in ultraviolet-light-emitting spiders webs. Now that she lives over here on the coast, she hopes to continue her studies through distance education with University of New England, as well as volunteering with Mogo Zoo and Potoroo Palace. There is also a wonderful postgraduate course in ornithology with Charles Sturt University, which may have future potential!BlogLoveBirds50%Image (846) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (862) - CopyBlogLoveBirds50%Image (844) - CopyBlogLoveBirds30%DSCF2277My love of birds has even translate itself into two embroidered cushions: our local birds, including many rainforest species, for Ross!BlogBdayblessgs20%Reszd2015-10-03 13.31.41

And seabirds for my Mum, including a sea eagle, pelican, silver gull, blackwinged stilt, pied oystercatcher, hooded and double banded plovers, a cormorant on a lichen-encrusted rock made of French knots and even a fairy prion in flight, the only bird photo that came from a bird book (!).Blog Mid Winter20%Reszd2015-07-12 11.50.33I really loved making them, even though there is a fair bit of poetic licence with their rendition!

On Thursday, I will try to explain the reasons behind my love of birds!