Great Birding Moments # 21 Splendid Wren

Lowan Conservation Park

Lowan Conservation Park

A few days ago we went to visit Lowan Conservation Park, a relatively small patch of mallee scrub about 40 minutes drive north east of our home in Murray Bridge. This park can be very rewarding to the birder – or it can be extremely frustrating. It usually depends on what trees and bushes are in flower.

We arrived mid afternoon in bright sunshine with a gentle south westerly keeping conditions pleasant. We drove slowly through to a nice spot in about the middle of the park for an afternoon cuppa. As we stopped there were about 150 Dusky Woodswallows overhead, their lovely calls filling the sky. Within minutes they had moved on. (For a photo of a Dusky Woodswallow taken elsewhere click here and scroll down the page.)

All else was fairly quiet. A few Weebills called nearby and a Spiny-cheeked Honeyeater called a distance away. I could also hear a Magpie calling and a Grey Shrike-thrush called somewhere in the scrub nearby. During the twenty minutes break for our cuppa we didn’t see a bird. I had been hopeful of seeing a Chestnut Quail-thrush because we parked a few metres from where I had seen two of them on a previous visit. No luck there.

We drove very slowly back towards the entrance gate but stopped a short distance from it so Corinne could take a photo of some plants. To see the photos click here and here and here.

While she was taking the photos I wandered off into the scrub for about thirty metres. A sudden flash of colour in the low bushes nearby attracted my attention. For about ten seconds I had a great view of a male Splendid Fairy-wren in full breeding plumage. This has to be one of Australia’s most beautiful birds. I’ve only managed to see one on a few occasions. This area is one fairly reliable spot to observe this species.

The excitement of this sighting was shattered a little when I realised that my camera was in the car! By the time I’d collected the camera it had flown elsewhere and it wasn’t calling, so I couldn’t track it down. I tried to attract it by making kissing sounds (this usually works with wrens) but to no avail. So I haven’t a photo to show off. Instead you will have to be content with someone else’s photos here.

UPDATE: on my recent holiday in New South Wales I managed to get some reasonable photos of this beautiful species. Check out “A Splendid Result”

This post was updated on July 6th 2015.


3 Responses to “Great Birding Moments # 21 Splendid Wren”

  1. colin says:

    Hi Trevor, interesting about the Splendid seen in Lowan, I visit the park regularly and have yet to see one,yet they are common in nearby areas particularly off ther Glenbur Road,odd that they dont seem common in Lowan itself ?
    As you suggest birding in Lowan can be hit and miss, often I have trudged through there and seen very little, and then suddenly come across large numbers of various birds.

    This is a list of birds I have photographed in Lowan and suggested population

    Jacky Winter….V common
    Red-capped Robin….scarce
    White-eared Honeyeaters…common
    Spotted pardalote…occassional
    Striated paralotes…V common
    Brown-headed honeyeater…V common
    Southern Scrub Robin…patchy
    Spiny-cheek Honey eaters…V common
    Restless Flycather….patchy
    Hooded Robin….occassional
    Chestnut Quail-thrush…patchy
    Owlet Nightjar…V common
    Spotted Nightjar…common seasonally
    Tawny Frogmouths….common
    Yellow-plumed Honeyeaters…V common
    Crested Bellbird…common
    Striped Honeyeater….scarce
    Grey Butcherbird…common
    White-browed babbler…common
    White-browed woodswallow…common seasonally
    Dusky Woodswallow…seasonally common
    White-winged chough….. common
    Mulga parrot….comon
    Mallee Ringneck…common
    Regent parrot….scarce
    Noisy Miners and YT miners….occassional
    White-plumed Honeaters…..occ
    Rufous Whistler….occassional
    Golden Whistlers…occassional
    Various Thornbills/Weebills…common
    Brown Falcon….common
    Nankeen Kestrel…common

    • Trevor says:

      Thanks for your comments, Colin. Quite a good list you have there. I have also seen the Splendid Wren on several occasions just across the road from the entrance gate. I usually check out that spot on every visit.

  2. colin says:

    Thanks for replying Trevor, have often thought about checking out the other side of the road, will do next time. I see also there is a new gate erected on the western track leading in, I don’t remember seeing it before. It was closed when I got there on Sunday, not locked, just secured loosely with a clip. I wonder if this means it may be locked from time to time, perhaps always…..I hope not, I enjoy the peace and quiet going into Lowan CP and thinking of heading up there again this weekend coming and over nighting?

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