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Dazzling photograph of pink-breasted galahs in Australian desert


This image of a flock of galahs taking off from a tree was captured by artist and photographer Christian Spencer, while out driving in Australia’s Strzelecki desert



Earth



5 October 2022

Christian Spencer

PINK-BREASTED galahs take off from a lone tree in Australia’s Strzelecki desert in this dazzling spectacle captured by artist and photographer Christian Spencer. The image, which bears a striking resemblance to a map of Australia, is from Spencer’s new photography book Birds: Poetry in the Sky, which is a collection of “fleeting moments captured in an artistic way that are gone forever”, he says.

The galah (Eolophus roseicapilla), also known as the pink and grey cockatoo or rose-breasted cockatoo, is easily recognised by its distinctive plumage. These highly sociable birds can be found in flocks of up to 1000 individuals and are a common sight in their native Australia.

These particular galahs are taking to the sky after replenishing themselves on the water that has collected at the base of the tree. Spencer spotted them by chance while driving, and managed to get the shot after approaching them slowly, an opportunity that he says was “written in the stars”. Originally intending to paint the scene, he decided to leave it as a photograph because he felt it couldn’t be improved.

“It’s amazing how such little things as birds can enchant us so much,” he says. “The more you have an understanding of the natural history of each species, the deeper the enchantment and mystery.”

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