I’m excited to announce my new range of Australian Robin Christmas cards. I’ve always loved robin Christmas cards. But they only seem to show the European robin ‘redbreast’, often forests of pine and oak trees, and usually snow. Like many other Christmas symbols, these don’t relate so well to the summertime Christmas celebrations in Australia, or to the Australian landscape.
So during our long drive back from central Queensland recently, I dreamt up some Christmas cards featuring our own beautiful native robins, pictured in Australian forests and woodlands. When I arrived home I worked hard and had a lot of fun researching, drawing and refining the designs. I ended up with 6 different cards, each with a different robin. And now they’re ready to go out into the world!
First is the Eastern Yellow Robin, pictured in the Mountain Ash Eucalyptus regnans forests of Victoria. I’m very fond of these forests, having visited them often in my childhood, and then later as an ecology student. This design is also a tribute to a botanist/ecologist I studied with back in those days, who also spent a lot of time in these forests, and who passed away recently. Rest in Peace, dear Shaun.
The next design was inspired by my recent trip back to Bimblebox Nature Refuge in central Queensland. It features a curious Hooded Robin, and those lovely, rounded and tear-shaped leaves of the Bimblebox (or Poplar box) Eucalyptus populnea.
One day, about 12 years ago, I had the surreal experience of beginning my day in the dry and mostly-cleared landscape of Port Lincoln, South Australia, and then flying to Hobart, Tasmania. Upon arrival I was immediately whisked away to the rugged, densely-forested south-west. We stopped for a little walk along the upper reaches of the Franklin River, with Myrtle Beech Nothofagus cunninghamii growing all around. Dancing around in the trees were a pair of Pink Robins, little knowing (and neither did I) that they would one day end up on a Christmas card.
In February this year, the lovely Ray and I spent some time in Oolambeyan National Park, in the Riverina of New South Wales. A family of Red-capped Robins inhabited the homestead garden, and we were also treated to some fabulous sunsets. I was nature journaling nearly every day during this trip, and this card is based on sketches I made during this time.
Some years ago, when I was visiting my Ranger friend Caroline, on Kangaroo Island, I was amazed at the abundance of Scarlet Robins. These little fluffballs are one of my favorite birds. So in this card I’ve pictured a fat male robin under some Australian mistletoe Amyema melaleucae, and above some of the wildflowers of Kangaroo Island – the Salmon Correa Correa pulchella and Shiny Ground-berry Acrotriche patula.
Now I live in south east Queensland, and the last 10 years here have been full of wonderful discoveries. Two of my favorites are the enigmatic dry rainforests, often dominated by the Hoop Pine Araucaria cunninghamii, and the delightful little Rose Robin, who I seem to see mostly in hilly areas in south east Queensland in winter. So I put them both in this Christmas card, which is also inspired by the Bunya Mountains (perhaps you can just make out some Bunya Pines Araucaria bidwillii in the background?).
These cards are now available to buy from my shop on this website, and should also appear soon in other places (I’m working on that ). Each card comes with its own envelope, and you can purchase them individually for $4.50 each, or as a pack of 6 cards for $18.50. They’re printed in here in Sandgate, Australia, on recycled paper, by the very helpful folks at Lava Print. Delivery is free within Australia.
So here’s to a happy, robin-filled Christmas!