Beautiful Superb Fairy-wren

Male Superb Fairy-wren in our garden

This morning I was sitting in our sun room doing some reading. I looked up and saw the male Superb Fairy-wren shown above and grabbed the camera before it flitted off into the vegetation. I had to take about four steps to get the camera and I was delighted that the bird stayed in position until I could focus and shoot. I only had time to manage one photo, but I’m quite happy with it. This species – like all of our wrens – are very flighty birds, never staying in one spot for more than a second or two – at best.

This individual, along with two uncoloured birds, has been resident in our garden now for over a year. This is delightful because, until a year ago, we had only recorded this species on a handful of occasions over the previous 28 years, despite them being common in our region. My next challenge is to get a shot of a female, preferably alongside the male.

The flowers belong to a Melaleuca lanceolata bush in our garden. It’s a common plant species in our area. For more about Australian native plants, have a look at my wife’s site, Mallee Native Plants.

My readers might like to also see photos of the Red-backed Fairy-wren over at Snail’s Eye View. This is one species I still have the delight to see in the wild.

Some of the photos shown here on Trevor’s Birding can now be purchased on tee shirts, coffee mugs, stationary and a large range of other items. Go to Trevor’s Photos site here.


Superb Fairy-wrens take a bath

We used to have a few wrens in our garden from time to time, mainly in the late 1980s and early 1990s. On all occasions they were Variegated Fairy-wrens, which is not the dominant wren species of the region.

About a year ago on our return from six weeks’ holiday overseas, we were greeted by two Superb Fairy-wrens, a male and a female, who had taken up residence in our absence. (Read about that here.) We have seen them almost every day since – except for the last month. Suddenly they have reappeared, this time with a third, uncoloured, bird. It is entirely possible that they have nested nearby without telling us, or giving away the location of their nest.

All three birds took delight in having a good splash in one of our bird baths yesterday while I was finishing my breakfast and trying to complete the crossword in the paper. Sadly, I wasn’t quick enough with the camera, so I’ll use a photo taken elsewhere on another occasion.

Superb Fairy-wren, male (r) and female, near Mannum, South Australia



A nice welcome home

Male Superb Fairy-wren

I’ve been a little quiet here over the last seven weeks. I’ve been overseas on a wonderful holiday. Stay tuned for plenty of wonderful photos of the birds of Ethiopia, Morocco and Spain in the coming months. In each country I saw about 30 species that I’d never seen before. The actual number is a bit rubbery as I’ve yet to identify some of the birds I photographed. Some long hours of interesting research ahead for me.

After a direct and very tedious journey home via Madrid, Dubai, Kuala Lumpur and Melbourne, we arrived at Adelaide Airport at 8am on Wednesday. Due to the blurriness of jet lag the rest of day was basically survival mode.

Thursday morning (yesterday) was a different matter. At breakfast time we had two Superb Fairy-wrens feeding in our garden, a male as shown in the photos, and a female. This species is widespread and common in our district here in South Australia, but this is the first time we’ve seen it in our garden in nearly 30 years living here. (On 5 occasions we have had Variegated Fairy-wrens visit over the same time period, the last being over 10 years ago.)

So, not only were we greeted with these lovely birds on our first day home, I was able to add a new species to our “home list”. Very nice.

Even better: they were around again this morning. I hope they find our garden enticing and decide to take up residence.

I managed only 2 photos of the male; the female was a little on the shy side and wouldn’t sit still long enough in the open for a shot.

Male Superb Fairy-wren


Birding around Mannum, South Australia part 2

Murray River at Mannum, South Australia

A few weeks ago I spent a pleasant Sunday afternoon birding in and around Mannum, about a 20 minute drive north of home. The Murray River and its environment are the dominant feature of this town, an old paddle steamer port in the 1800s. I went for a walk along a walking trail on the riverside opposite the town. The trail starts just south of the ferry crossing.

I was delighted with the birding on that fine, pleasant spring day. One of the best species I saw was the Superb Fairy-wren. This stunning bird is always a good sighting and that can come up quite close in picnic areas. This family was just a little wary and it took quite a while and some patience to get several good shots of the male in all his colouful splendour.

Male Superb Fairy-wren, Mannum

Male Superb Fairy-wren, Mannum

Superb Fairy wrens, Laratinga Wetlands

Superb Fairy-wren, Laratinga Wetlands, South Australia

The Laratinga Wetlands at Mt Barker in the Mt Lofty Ranges in South Australia have been established now for over 11 years. During that time the various ponds and the surrounding areas have been planted up with many native trees, bushes, grasses and water plants. The area is now an excellent habitat for both water birds and bush birds.

Every where I walked along the various paths on a recent visit I heard and saw families of Superb Fairy-wrens. There seemed to be plenty of them, but sometimes they can be frustrating little birds to photograph. They can move so quickly when chasing flying insects to eat that one has to be very quite focussing on them to get a shot. Many times I’ve taken excellent photos of the twig or branch where the bird was sitting a fraction of a second earlier!

In other places this species can be a delight to photograph as they pose on picnic tables or hop around between your feet. I guess I have to be grateful when a bird poses nicely with enough light and time enough to focus and compose the shot. It certainly makes this an interesting and challenging hobby.

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