MEET THE LOCALS

Mandurah bird photographer Alice Worswick talks about getting the perfect shot

NATURE LOVER: Madora Bay resident Alice Worswick says when she moved to Mandurah she began following her lifelong dream of being a bird photographer. Photo: Fidel Fernando via Unsplash.
NATURE LOVER: Madora Bay resident Alice Worswick says when she moved to Mandurah she began following her lifelong dream of being a bird photographer. Photo: Fidel Fernando via Unsplash.

"When rainbow bee-eaters catch a bee, they smack the bee on a branch to remove the sting and then offer it to the female during their courtship," says Alice Worswick, a bird photographer from Madora Bay.

When Alice speaks about her passion for watching and photographing birds, she is captivating and confident, and comes out of her normally quiet and shy shell.

Alice picked up the hobby when she moved to Mandurah five years ago.

"I have always had an interest in photography and film - I love movies," Alice said.

"Where I was living prior to being here in Australia it wasn't terribly safe and conducive to going out and flashing a camera around.

"When I returned to Australia five years ago and wasn't going to work anymore I thought 'now is the time I should follow my lifelong passion'."

BEAUTY: The rainbow bee-eater. Picture: Alice Worswick.

BEAUTY: The rainbow bee-eater. Picture: Alice Worswick.

On the day that Alice and I spoke she had been out at 4.30am, which she said was the perfect time to capture a bird's personality.

"They are much more active as the sun rises and the day comes alive - also the light, it's about the light always.

"If you don't have good light on your subject it is very difficult to bring out the true beauty of that bird which is why it's important to have that soft early morning light.

"It is a lot of early mornings getting up at four o'clock to wait for the bird, but a lot of the time we are rewarded - even though I dare say you're always at the mercy of your subject.

"You can have a plan, but unlike other genres of photography, like landscape for example, your subject is unpredictable."

An introvert by nature, Alice said being outdoors surrounded by Mandurah's wildlife and staying quiet could open an entirely new world for a person.

"What soothes my soul is being out in nature - wondering what nature will choose to share with me that day.

"If you watch carefully and listen you will be amazed at what it will share."

GRACEFUL: Bird photographer Alice Worswick says egrets do their famous dance to stun and catch fish. Picture: Alice Worswick.

GRACEFUL: Bird photographer Alice Worswick says egrets do their famous dance to stun and catch fish. Picture: Alice Worswick.

Egrets, according to Alice, are some of the best models for a bird photographer.

"The egrets, on a good day at the estuary, will do their very famous dance.

"They dance to attract the fish and they are just so elegant and fabulous - the way they flutter their wings and disturb the fish and dunk their heads in," she laughed.

Alice and her husband live at an ocean-front property in Madora Bay, where she is treated to views of an array of her favourite feathered creatures just a short walk away.

Her special interest, she said, was the fairy wren - a bird which regularly features on her Instagram photography page.

"The fairy wren are unique to WA so they are just brilliant - they love to pose and they are curious, friendly and have so much character.

"They have all sorts of little behaviours that are so charming - they will take your breath away when they stand in that soft morning light with their blue and turquoise colours.

"Fairy wrens will only have their brilliant colour for about three or four months and by February they start to lose it."

SPECIAL: The fairy wren only keeps its colour for three to four months. Picture: Alice Worswick.

SPECIAL: The fairy wren only keeps its colour for three to four months. Picture: Alice Worswick.

Alice's Instagram page began taking off after birdwatchers around the world started to take notice of her unique and beautiful photographs.

The attention was something Alice had to take some time to get used to as a shy person.

"At the end of the day I'm not too worried about the amount followers - a lot of the time people are commenting because they love the bird.

"I have followers from all over the world and they love seeing the birds of Australia.

"I get messages saying 'I want to come to Australia, where's the best place to go?' and I laugh and think, oh my goodness do they know how large WA is?"

Alice said she hoped to continue her bird photography for many years to come, enjoying the wildlife that Mandurah and its surrounds had to offer and added that she would always follow one strict rule: she was behind the camera and never in front of it.

"I have naturally grey hair and I'm usually found in my very muddy birding clothes and wellington boots.

"I never go in front of the lense, I'm quite shy and pull funny faces," she laughed.

"I can't really talk about myself but certainly the birds - I could go on about that forever."

To see more of Alice's photography, visit her Instagram page @alice_worswick.