Saturday, June 18, 2011

Grasswren Dance! Gluepot style!

Australian Grasswrens are somewhat of an obsession for many birders! Living in far flung parts of the country they are hard to find, hard to see and fast to find and exit though the proverbial back-door that lies in every bush and tree not to be seen again! 
The closest species to where I live is the Striated Grasswren and the closest area these can be found is at Birds Australia's Gluepot Reserve, two and a half hours up the Sturt Hwy. The Striated Grasswren lives in the dense Spinifex which grows over the low sandhills of the reserve. Cagey little critters, they are masters of deception! using the Spinifex to their full advantage, popping up right in front of you one second only to almost magically then disappear and then be heard behind you in no time! Frustrating little things! 
My good birding friend Kay Parkin and I have developed a unusual system to try and gain the advantage in seeing these little Houdini's! We call it the Grasswren dance, and as it sounds we basically listen for the faint calls of the Grasswren, then once found we descend on the area and proceed to either successfully see and photograph the quarry or we fail and lick our wounds of defeat which is usually pin cushioned shins from the needle like leaves of the Spinifex!! How the dance is performed? well you will have to come birding with me one day to find out!
Another good friend of mine Michael Warnes organised a trip up to Gluepot this weekend to do a little Grasswren dancing. A lifer for him it would be and a new addiction would be formed! as once you have chased and danced around looking for Grasswrens it's a hit you just have to keep fulfilling! 
Now finding these birds is hard in itself! but then actually getting good views is another thing! on this trip we had some luck we found one Grasswren on our first sandhill quite quickly, unfortunately it found the aforementioned back door just as quick and no amount of Grasswren dancing would find it again! D'oh! Later on in the afternoon we found another two Grasswrens who were a little more cooperative and although they were too quick to get a photo of! we managed to raise them a few times to get some good views! Having said that pin cushioned shins were still the order of the day!
Since no photos were gained of the Grasswrens I have added a few of the other fabulous birds which we found on this trip to Gluepot:

Male Mulga Parrot

Striped Honeyeater

Jacky Winter

White-Fronted Honeyeater

Crested Bellbird

Grey Butcherbird

Shy Heathwren another bird which has an aversion to having it's photo taken

Mulga Parrot
Anyhow back to the dancing! just sometimes when the stars align and the dance is performed to the Grasswrens liking they will actually allow a photograph! Here's one from a few trips earlier:

Striated Grasswren! Sorry about the quality of the photo but they are quick!
 So if you are looking for a challenge? learn the Grasswren dance! guaranteed you will go back for more!!

1 comment:

  1. Your Photo of the Male Mulga Parrot, has to be one of the most striking photos I have seen - it just just beautiful. Very Envious!