Just another day in the life of a Wildlife Artist.

Photograph Stephen Powell Wildlife Artist Photographer Barking Owl

Wildlife Artist’s Day

Just thought you might enjoy hearing about my day out. After one false start I headed of to the Sunshine Bird lady. Weather not looking good. Rain hammering down despite forecast the day before of local thunderstorms. Now with the added threat of huge hail and local flooding, headed off. Thought that as I was going passed the zoo, had time so I’d drop in. Weather broke so the zoo worked out had some nice ‘one on ones’ with the critters.

Gave my self plenty of time, picked up some lunch, arrived early so I parked up the road and admired the giant fenced of quarry surrounded by an estate of giant new Mc Mansions. Wondered about how some on in the area managed to be looking after birds of prey. Wandered down to the address and discovered no No 2 had no house.. Checked the address. Shit, Sunbury not Sunshine. Both had a —— St for Christ sake!!!!! Headed of with more haste than desired, still had 20 min. Took every wrong exit and circled around for a while. Freeway sign producer needs flogging! Finally arrived 30 min late.

Bird were in ‘very shady’ wire aviaries covered with wooden slats with 50 – 60 mm gaps between. Too jumpy to enter the cages with falcons. Pointed the new camera with 70 mm wide lens at the gaps. Still got some good shots of Peregrine & Brown Falcon.

Entered the cage with the Barking Owl. Molting but still very cute woofing and growling but very friendly.


Also had 2 Flying foxes. Would you like to go in with them? Wood I !!! Entered the cage. Told very curious & don’t bite. Thought of Equine virus briefly flashed the through the brain. Foxes made for bee line for me, clambered over me sniffing like a vacuum cleaners. So far so good.
Got to my hand sniff, sniff, munch! Thoughts of Equine virus returned to my brain. Rest of experience less relaxed as I tried to keep exposed skin and vital bits of face away from non biting foxes.

After a suitable period of chit chat thanked M_____ and headed of looking for a chemist shop. Aroused considerable interest when asking for some surgical wipes for a Flying fox bite. Disappointed only 1 of 6 had any idea what a Flying Fox was. Pharmacist suggested a Tetanus jab and arranged an appointment at local clinic. Aroused more interest. Assured no great problem by Dr., no rabies in Australia Equine Virus had not occur to him!!! Jabbed & cleaned. 4pm headed home. (Please see warning below) 20 ks from western ring road GRID LOCK. Next 3.5 hrs stop start 20 to 40ks. Max speed of 60 ks achieved in the tunnel for which I paid $11.30 for a couple of ks of this breathless speed.

Spent most of the time staggered by, how people put up with grid lock on a daily basis and thinking how much I valued this and the other things that 12 years of growth in the economy – population had brought. Shiiiiiiit!

Still intend to revisit M_____ and her critters. Woofing Owl made me laugh and don’t want to waste a good Tetanus shot!

Just another day in the life of a Wildlife Artist.

Important Warning: Some months after the bite and due to concerns raised by the Blood bank I made inquiries with the Victorian Health department. Rabies & Australian bat lyssavirus – http://www.health.vic.gov.au/ideas/bluebook/rabies. The Rabies virus and Australian bat lyssavirus (ABL) are closely related members of the genus Lyssavirus.

Whilst infection is rare, it is fatal!

I have since received a series of 5 rabies inoculations as directed and paid for by Vic Health. Carers and others in contact should be vaccinated. Contact with bats should be avoided. Scratches and bites should be acted on immediately.

About Stephen Powell

Stephen has been an active environmentalist working in, field work, public speaking and lobbying at all levels of government. He has spoken at school and community gatherings as well as on radio. His comments on environmental issues have appeared in newspapers and newsletters. His work has attracted a number awards, which include Wildlife Art Society of Australasia & Best Flora or Fauna-Moomba Art Show. His passion shows in his works which are in demand for galleries and as private commissions. Training: Watercolour: ‘The Botanical Art School of Melbourne’ under the internationally acclaimed Jenny Crompton (Phillips) Oil: with the gifted wildlife artist Krystii Melaine. Drawing and field sketching: with Steve Morvell He takes classes and travelled to Mitchell School of Arts to take wildlife art workshops. And the Murrumbidgee School of Creative Arts in Wagga Wagga. McGregor School Uni Southern Queensland Toowoomba. Grafton to be added in 2011.
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