Living near the bush means we see a lot of native birds and wildlife. Lorikeets, magpies, crows and noisy miners are the most common but every now and then we have the privilege of getting up close to a kookaburra or two. Kookaburras are primarily meat eaters, they will catch mice, lizards, and small snakes among other things. There are two types of kookaburra, the Laughing Kookaburra and the Blue-winged Kookaburra, our visitors are of the Laughing type. We give them a little bit of fresh mince which one of them happily takes out of our hands and occasionally feeds to the demanding youngster. The noise a kookaburra makes is very distinctive, it makes me smile even at 5 o’clock in the morning. I recorded this video late one afternoon, Hubby was handing out the mince and for the most part only one kookaburra came for the food, a third kookaburra stayed in the tree. You won’t hear them laughing however you will get to see parent and child interact which is a funny sight and it made me wonder whether it was Mum or Dad on spoon-feeding duty.
St Andrews, Scotland is well known for it’s golf course however there is plenty for a visitor to do if they’re not interested in chasing a little white ball around a paddock. There are castle and cathedral ruins overlooking the sea, as well as delightful little cafes and cobblestone streets. After a morning sketching a church and doing a little shopping in the centre of St Andrews we headed out of the centre to the Botanic Gardens for a picnic lunch and a few hours of quiet in the gardens.
The Botanic Gardens aren’t huge however they are full of brilliant coloured blooms in Spring, some of which I had seen before such as Rhododendrons. The sun was shining and local students appeared to be making the most of the warmth, lying on the grass studying or just ‘hanging out’. As a small group we scattered quickly after lunch, each of us going our own way and doing whatever we wanted. I chose not to sit and draw, and instead kept my camera at the ready because there were so many flowers to see and paths to explore. A couple of ducks caught my attention at one stage, the female splashing around in the water while the male seemed more content to strut around the pond. A heron also became the focus of my attention, I stalked him/her all around one pond trying to capture them in flight however I didn’t not have a fast enough shutter speed and most of the action shots are fuzzy. Big fat bumblebees are always a delight to see although the most amusing creatures in the gardens were not alive, they were carvings and sculptures dotted among the trees. The red squirrel sculpture was as close as I got to this endangered creature, I didn’t even see the more common grey squirrel during my time in Scotland.
As I wandered around the gardens I ran into several of my fellow travelling artists, most of them thoroughly enjoying the peaceful surrounds and the opportunity to draw something other than a church or castle. Hopefully the many photographs I took will serve a inspiration for my artwork in the future. In the meantime I hope you enjoy my walk through the garden.