Thursday, 3 November 2011

Aerodrome, Bays and funny Birds

Spent Day 2 of Rottnest riding out to the West side of the island on my own, 'exploring' the island, going where ever I pleased.

The guy below is a pheasant I chanced upon at the Aerodrome.

The Aerodrome is an old airplane field that is usually quiet and empty even though it's still in use. It's off the main road and hardly anyone goes there, as it's a dead end, and the signs at the turnoff, point riders to the popular Kingston Barracks and onwards to the bays and coastal reefs instead. There's scrub paddocks on one side and a large salt lake that leads up to it, and the strip itself is surrounded by maintained, grey gravel that's sprinkled with weeds at the periphery, has one of those sock wind flags waving in the breeze, and there's always some old school plane resting there.

It was in the side paddock of scrub that I spotted a pair of pheasants. Previous times I've always seen them around the railroad tracks near the barracks. They are shy birds and keep their distance, stretching their heads above the grassline line in caution once in a while before returning to pecking and scratching around on the ground.

The one I was drawing must have not liked me looking at it because after 5 minutes, all of a sudden it puffed up it's feathers, flapped it's wings like crazy, and honked in a high pitch shriek at me before hiding down in the grass pecking around again.

The Airfield itself was actually really loud when I got there, filled with the sound of choppers closeup. (because of the recent shark hunting I guess). I found a hidden, high viewing bench to sit at, where I could sketch the field and watched a large, camouflage helicopter and a smaller, sleek grey-white helicopter that ironically resembled a shark itself, practising their hovering, take offs and circling. I didnt quite capture it's 'character' in the pic. It was much more slimlined and aggressive moving. One other person had found the place on foot and was watching the helicopters too, so I drew him into the landscape.

I rode on past Porpoise Bay (there were no porpoises) and came to Parker Point. A sheltered reef bay that you descend some steep stairs and rockery to get down to the shore. It was here that I remember our zoology group had our amazing snorkling session. I'm glad I found it again, as I had returned a couple of times to Rottnest and forgot the whereabouts of the place.... We had to swim out past the claustrophobic metres of sea grass, to get to the deep coral reefs whre there were SO MANY colourful and large fish of all sorts. It was gorgeous. Ah so nostalgic. I wonder what everyone from that zool group is doing nowadays?

Today there was only a lone boat with a couple of people fishing off it. Ignore the albatross. I caught it diving, hunting for a fish. Very cool in real life, but on paper it ws hard to capture it's wing flapping and hovering.

I rode 'til the afternoon got late, the sky got dim, and the winds grew cold. But before I headed back, I had to stop and draw this funny guy. The expression on it's face and the way it walked accross the road, it was such a cute dork. But very good at catching it's brine shrimp it seems with it's bendy long beak and knock-kneed stick legs.


StephenG said...

These are wonderful Rosey. I particularly like the pheasant - so much character!

Anonymous said...

Any news about A defector's unexplainable disappearance?