Brooms Head coastal heathland, lush northern New South Wales. Small banksias dominate a plethora of colourful native flowers amid low waving grasses. An easy subliminal call, and there they are, two tiny Southern Emu-wrens. Now for the camera.
It’s a simple quest, three days, Ross photographing one of Australia’s smallest birds. Just 6cm and its signature translucent tail double that. Endangered in some parts.
The late afternoon breeze sends a reminder that winter’s only just done. White-cheeked Honeyeaters flash yellow, loving new spring life. Willy Wagtail checks me out, gives a wiggle, then darts off. There’s always the second day.
A gorgeous soft chill morning, however the heart-warming sun rewards well. I settle into a smoothed kangaroo grass bed on the gentle hillside, hands behind my head, hat on my face. Beautiful sun induced dreaming. I wake with a start. Around me are inquisitive faces peering over the grasses, hey, get out of our space. I smile and sleep once more. Willy Wagtail settles on the kangaroo’s head, gives a wiggle, and darts again.
The final day and imposters abound. Superb Fairy-wren, Red-backed Fairy-wren. There’s Buff-banded Rail and Black-faced Cuckoo-shrike. Then from over the hill comes the call. Click and perfect shots. Brown black streaked back, blue chin, bronze breast, and his wispy emu-like tail feathers that derives the name.
I arrive for a flawless view of the emu-wren’s flight, pose, flies some more. He is small, very small. The tail is magnificent. Willy Wagtail in the distance says cheerio and darts. And there’s Ross, dancing the jig that all birders love.
Click here to see Ross’s celebrated Emu-wren