Birds through the lens of Geoff Park
Yes! We have commenced Bird Week 2020 where thousands of people from across Australia, including some of the AnArt4Life bloggers head out to our backyards, local parks and favourite open spaces to take part in the annual #AussieBirdCount! To continue our focus on birds we have great pleasure in bringing you some beautiful photographs1 taken by Geoff Park.2
Geoff Park is a field naturalist and nature photographer. He has lived, with his family, at Newstead in central Victoria since the mid-1980s.
His blog, Natural Newstead (Observations of flora, fauna and landscape in central Victoria) has been running since 2008 and features daily stories and images that document the natural history of the Newstead district.1
The most difficult task for me was choosing just a few photographs from Geoff's blog that spans so many years.
The female Rainbow Bee-eater below digs a long tunnel, can be up to 1 metre, in a sandy cliff face or eroded riverbank and creates a nesting chamber where she lays 3 to 7 eggs. Her male feeds her while she is digging, but takes turns with her to incubate the eggs. (Credit nt.gov.au)
"The highlight of an early morning walk along Joyce’s Creek this morning were the Whistling Kites … numerous adults and juveniles congregated along the stream on the lookout for a meal. With European Carp milling in the shallows they won’t go hungry." 1
Below is a small woodland insectivore and Geoff explains why it has such a worried face.
The Southern Whiteface is a small woodland insectivore. It’s found across most of the southern half of continental Australia, usually in open woodlands that contain scattered shrubs and grasses. When we arrived in the district in the mid 1980s I can recall it being moderately common and reliably found in many local areas of suitable habitat. Nowadays it has become scarce, and I’m not clear why it has apparently declined. I worry that its days may be numbered.
A small group has made a home in the environs of the Newstead Cemetery, moving between the surrounding woodland and the grassy expanses of the grounds, where small shrubs and native grasses are apparently to their liking. This group has been in this area for a number of years now – I can count on the fingers of one hand the number of other local spots where Southern Whiteface is resident.1
In yesterday's post we were privileged to see the photos of Melbourne's own Peregrine Falcon chicks being born. Today we leave you with Geoff Park's bird's-eye view of an immature Peregrine Falcon, and a couple of photos of "our fastest raptor the most splendid of birds" Peregrine Falcons, I think Geoff has captured their aerodynamic splendor perfectly. As Geoff asserts "A sight to gladden the heart of any birdwatcher!" 1
It is heartening to know that Geoff's blog has had over 795,000 'hits' and with well over 2,000 followers it shows what individuals can do to spread knowledge about our environment and create wonderful links in our community. These can be accessed via his blog site Natural Newstead. Geoff opens our eyes to what is on our doorstep and highlights how we can each make a difference.
We at AnArtful4life, sincerely thank Geoff for his dedication to posting a glimpse of nature each day for so many years which helps to educate all of us about our wonderful fragile world we live in. I commend you to take a look at his blog and I promise you it will be time well spent.
- All photos and text courtesy and copyright of Geoff Park.
- Geoff Park gained a B.Sc (Honours) from Melbourne University in 1980, majoring in Zoology and Genetics and a Diploma of Education from Melbourne State College in 1982. His background is in landscape ecology, teaching and community education and was involved in the establishment of the Victorian Landcare Centre at Creswick (from 1992 – 1998). He has a long standing interest and involvement with communities working to improve biodiversity conservation in agricultural landscapes. Geoff is a trustee with the Norman Wettenhall Foundation, a philanthropic organisation that supports projects that aim to enhance the vitality and diversity of the Australian natural living environment. In 2009 he received the prestigious Dr. Sidney Plowman Travel and Study Award as part of the Victorian Landcare Awards. Geoff was appointed to the Victorian Catchment Management Council in October 2015.