A Shy Heathwren comes out of hiding

Shy Heathwren, Lowan CP

One of the more interesting birding spots near my home in Murray Bridge South Australia is Lowan Conservation Park near Bowhill, about a 40 minute drive to the north east. This park is mainly mallee eucalypt scrub with some native pine (Callitris) and smaller shrubby undergrowth, including acacias, eremophilas, spinifex and some annual flowering plants.

The birdlife in this park can vary from overwhelming in number to very few. It all depends upon what is flowering at the time. When many of the mallee trees are in flower the honeyeaters flock there in large numbers. When nothing is flowering I’ve struggled to list more than a dozen species – and sometimes no honeyeaters, with the possible exception of a solitary Red Wattlebird. It can be very rewarding – or downright frustrating.

On a visit early last year I was delighted to catch a glimpse of a Shy Heathwren, not a species which is common in this region. True to its name it proved to be elusive but very vocal. A birding friend had a bird field guide application on his phone, so he played the call of this species. Within seconds it was almost hopping around our feet. I was therefore able to get a few not-so-brilliant shots. Wish it had sat still for more than a half second!

As a result of this experience I just had to go and buy myself a smart phone – along with a bird guide app.

UPDATE: I have since bought a smart phone AND have a field guide app on it. I haven’t used it much for calls out bush, but my grandchildren think it is really cool. [sigh]

A more recent article about this park can be found here.

Updated July 2015.

Shy Heathwren, Lowan CP

Shy Heathwren, Lowan CP


5 Responses to “A Shy Heathwren comes out of hiding”

  1. Hey Trevor.. is this your car that was spotted in Adelaide with a “Birder” number plate?


    • Trevor says:

      Hi Duncan,

      Sadly – no.

      Thanks for posting this – I now have a serious case of “Numberplate Envy.”

      • Trevor says:

        Not to mention “I’ve been everywhere and got the sticker” envy.

        • Trevor says:

          I used to have a few stickers on an old car I once had but haven’t updated the sticker collection on my current car. Having such a collection is unwise as it acts as a thief magnet.

          Stickers like this may look cool and impressive but it signals loud and clear that the car could contain a serious collection of camera gear and other devices (eg GPS, recording equipment etc) which often outstrips the value of the car itself.

          Not the kind of advertisement you need on your car when you leave it unattended in a remote area while you are off in the bush answering the call of nature (no – not THAT call – but rather the call of that rare elusive bird.)

  2. Duncan says:

    Damn! I thought I was on a winner with that prediction that it was your car.. Dead impressed with your blog, visited it many, many years ago and your tenacity in continuing with it is awesome.. I blew about 45mins at work today looking at the photos and have some time set aside later tonight to finish it.. We’re off to the Mannum on Friday, I’m afraid despite admiring the birdlife everytime we go I cant identify much beyond the Pelicans (Pelicanus Percivalus).. 🙂 Cheers, Dunc.

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