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A jewel in the garden andndash spotted pardalote
A jewel in the garden andndash spotted pardalote

A jewel in the garden – spotted pardalote

Artwork Type: Print,Original Piece

Pastel on Canson Tex paper

Image size 50 x 34cm

Being a wildlife and conservation artist as I am, living in a national park comes with a great many benefits. We have populations of the wedgetailed eagle (the largest wingspan ever verified for an eagle was for this species. A female killed in Tasmania in 1931 had a wingspan of 284cm)....we then have emus (the second tallest bird on the planet at 1.5m) which often wander in here to drink at our ponds and then we have this bird. The spotted pardalote is one of the tiniest of all Australian birds measuring between 8 and 10cm in length. This diminutive insect eater consumes large numbers of psyllids and the lerps (Sugaring coverings) that house them. Its beak is beautifully designed to help them lever the lerps off the gum leaves.

Having them nest in our garden each year is a real treat  for me and I spend many hours close by..... watching, observing, listening and learning about these marvellous flying jewels. They have very little obvious fear as I stand behind my tripod and big camera lens but then again, I freeze pretty much every time they fly in or out so maybe after a time I simply become furniture to their surroundings. The fact that frequently they almost sit on my head lends weight to that observation.

Since they are only 8-10cm in length you may understand what a battle it is to portray them in pastel. I had to enlarge them slightly to do them justice but I am happy with the end result which depicts the male at the burrow entrance. He is a bit more colourful and has stronger markings than his partner. Their high-pitched quadruple peeping call is a background for the bush that is so common we often fail to notice it at all. But to me it is always happy music for my soul.

Common things often have uncommon beauty and our fabulous spotted pardalotes are a great example of that truth.

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“My art is of nature,
 for nature


Steve Morvell

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