Sunday, July 1, 2012

Sun Fish

Sunfish, by Starr White
This is a fun painting I did of a sun fish, also known as bream in these parts.  It was painted in a folk art style inspired by the dot paintings of the Australian Aborigines.  You can see what they really look like here.  They are beautiful, clever fish that are lots of fun to fish for and very tasty to eat.  You have to be quick though!  Most of the time they'll take your bait and leave you with an empty hook!

Right now they are spawning in our creek.  It is fascinating to watch them.  They build nests like a bird!  The male picks out a nice, quiet spot and cleans away all the mud and debris by swishing his tail like a broom.  Then, he builds up the sides of the nest into a bowl shape by carefully selecting pebbles and piling them up all around the sides.  Then he courts a female who will lay her eggs in the nest.  He fertilizes the eggs and  guards the nest until the eggs hatch.  Then, when the babies are on their way, he and the Mrs. move on downstream to deeper waters.  At the moment, our little pond beneath the waterfall is a sunfish nursery!  We are enjoying watching them and feeding them and trying to get them to eat out of our hands.  We're getting close!

This is one of their little nests.  It is just a short distance upstream from the pond.  You can't see the fish on the nest because every time you go near it, he darts off into the shadows on the other side.  See how neat and clean it is compared to the surrounding streambed?  This photo was taken from above, so it is difficult to see the bowl shape, but the sides are built up about 3 to 4 inches all the way around.  It's a perfect little bowl of pebbles.
Here is Smokey trying to catch one.  I've been wondering why his breath smells like fish!


Suztats said...

Nice painting of the sun fish, and interesting too, to read about them. Thank you.

Starr White said...

Thank you for visiting, Suz! I'm so glad you enjoyed the post. Thanks for the encouragement:)

Emily said...

Your sunfish drawing is so cool! Nicely done, Starr! :)