Cairns, Cables Cars and Cute Cockatoos
As an artist I'm always on the look out for good reference material. I often visit zoos, wildlife sanctuaries and botanic gardens with my camera in hand hoping to catch as much useable material as I can. Recently I visited a bird sanctuary that was better than any other sanctuary I had visited in the past. Dom and I have just returned from a holiday to the Great Barrier Reef. We went on a ten day cruise with P&O cruise lines and it was fabulous. Both of us returned, relaxed, well fed and content.
The highlight of the holiday for me was a visit to Kuranda Village in the Rainforest in Cairns. We took the Skyrail which was a half hour journey in a cable car above the Barron George National Park. Kuranda is a little town just west of Cairns in far north Queensland. When we arrived in Kuranda we visited Birdworld which is, according to the brochures, 'the largest single collection of free flying birds in Australia.' I was excited because I usually have to try and take photos of birds through their wire cages. So to be walking around in the aviary with them was going to be a special treat for me. Before we went in I was told to remove my earrings or I might lose them and we were warned that the button on the top of Dom's baseball cap might get stolen.
When we first went into the aviary I was so excited I didn't know where to look. I tried to take some photos but I couldn't concentrate. Birds were everywhere and they were all tame! They ate out of our hands, jumped on our shoulders and nibbled our ears! I was in heaven. Macaws, Sun Conures, Cockatoos, Alexandrine Parrots, Indian Ringnecks, Galahs and King Parrots all danced around and flew past us. Put it this way, it wasn't the place to be if you had a bird phobia of any kind. A persistent Alexandrine Parrot was determined to remove the button from the top of Dom's cap and I was playfully nipped on the arm by an Eclectus Parrot. It drew blood but I didn't care, I was blown away. All around there were hollow logs and nest boxes where hungry Major Mitchell Cockatoo chicks were calling to be fed. How exciting! After I calmed down I managed to take a few half decent photos that I will use to create some paintings.
I've already painted two watercolours from my selection.
I painted this pair of Major Mitchells above and this sweet little Sun Conure below.