For years I’ve been chasing a good photo of a Southern Emu-wren. This bird is notoriously frustrating to photograph so I’ve only managed to get poor quality photos in the past. They have a habit of staying hidden amongst the low vegetation, occasionally popping up randomly for a look, then flitting back down almost immediately. Enough to make you want to pull your hair out!
Well today was my lucky day. I braved the cold biting breeze to visit the heathlands near Walkerville where I had a walk to try my luck at getting a good view of the elusive birds. I had heard this was a good place to see them so I was determined to get a shot or two. After walking along a firebreak at the top of the heathland for only 5 minutes I heard the distinctive high pitched trilling. It is similar to Fairy-wrens but slightly higher pitched and less intense. After a little while one stuck its head up in some low Allocasuarina thicket but as soon as I even thought of lifting my camera up it darted back down again. This little game was to go on for a while yet and I’m sure they were mocking me! My zoom lens itself weighs around 2kg so I could hold it up at eye level for only so long. Should have brought the monopod!!
Finally after 20 minutes or so of standing still with frozen fingers a curious male perched on a branch in full view. Gotcha!
There are 3 species of Emu-wren in Australia and they get their name from the long tail feathers which resemble Emu feathers. The Southern Emu-wren is found throughout southern Australia from Western Australia to southern Queensland and typically inhabit low vegetation and thickets. They tend to stay low in vegetation and will occasionally run, almost like a mouse, in open areas between thickets.
Males and females are similar in colour but only the males have the brilliant blue throat and eye brow.