During the Living Landscapes project, a collaboration of Guildford/Upper Loddon, Sandon Werona and Newstead landcare groups with the then DSE and North Central CMA, a number of bird surveys were carried out in areas where the project was to operate. One, on our place at Strangways, identified our little patch of bush as an area of significance for Speckled Warblers (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus). At the time, I couldn’t tell a Speckled Warbler from a Striated Thornbill, but we were chuffed.
A very hot Striated Thornbill
Naturally, when introduced to the (time consuming) addiction of bird photography by that prodigious inveigler of the unwary, Geoff Park, I wanted to photograph these birds on our place. And failed and failed and failed again. I could see them, hear them and not get to within cooee. And I would see the beautiful photos Geoff would get of this species in the Muckleford Forest and along with the admiration, felt a twinge of pain at my own lack of success. A little arrow like the sagittus indicated in the species name. So years ago, I set up a bird bath with an array of photogenic perches and a little hide at the back of our place where I’d seen them most.
My little hide
On hot summer evenings, year after year I crouched in my hide and waited. And waited. And I photographed a lot of birds therefrom. Thornbills of all stripes, Honeyeaters, Fairy-wrens and Pardalotes, Rosellas and Shrike-thrush, Treecreepers and Whistlers all posed – oblivious to the perspiring and overheated fool in the little green box.
In the stinking heat of last Thursday and Friday, there I was again. Now as my addiction has grown, so has the lens I use and it is now quite unwieldy in the little hide built for more modest glass and too long in focus for bigger birds (no zoom). So when an elegant Grey Shrike-thrush popped in for a drink, it was head and shoulders only.
Grey Shrike-thrush (Colluricincla harmonica)
Brown-headed and Yellow-faced Honeyeaters also dropped by.
Brown-headed Honeyeater (Melithreptus brevirostris)
More of the same…
Yellow-faced Honeyeater (Lichenostomus chrysops)
A Superb Fairy-wren changing out of his glad rags, no longer so willing to impress the ladies.
Superb Fairy-wren (Malurus cyaneus)
Yellow Thornbill (Acanthiza nana)
Brown Thornbill (Acanthiza pusilla)
And in with the White-throated Treecreeper male…
White-throated Treecreeper (Cormobates leucophaea)
…at last dear and patient reader (bear with me, I’ve waited for this longer than you have), at last not one, but TWO SPECKLED WARBLERS!!! Not that the two would get in the same frame together – but still! I could barely point the big bit of glass I was holding due to the shaking of my paws.
Speckled Warbler (Pyrrholaemus sagittatus)
And number two so close it just fitted in the frame.
Warbler the second.
Many thanks to Lewis Carroll for the wonderful line of exultation. And to Geoff for supporting my addiction and letting me post this overly long celebratory drivel on his wonderful blog.