Thursday, February 17, 2011

Feeling twitchy

Every day this week I've woken at dawn thanks to a group of rainbow lorikeets who like to breakfast in the bottlebrush tree that grows outside our bedroom window. By 6.30-7.00, they've moved on but not before we've had time to make cups of tea and watch them from our bed.

These paintings come from the 1984 book What Bird is That?, which the Child insisted the Husband buy me for Christmas when she spotted it at Mitchell Road Antiques. It's a massive book with 430 paintings by Neville Cayley whose dream was to create a book containing images and text on every single bird in Australia.

Cayley died in 1950 having completed the paintings but not the words. His project may have taken another 30-odd years to come to fruition but some clever twitchers made it happen - and the book is a joy.

I don't know a lot about birds but can recognise those that visit our garden, thanks to the easy-to-use Birds in Backyards site. Our garden may be small in human terms but big enough for at least 10 different species of native birds to pop in regularly, not including a family of doves who've made a nest in the jasmine that snakes along the back fence, and that's worth every dawn squawk and squeak.

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