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.
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.