One of the key bird species that can be often found along the track between Shipwreck Creek to Seal Creek in Mallacoota, is the Southern Emu-wren. I always get a kick out of finding this tiny, long tailed Heathland bird. They can be difficult to find and photograph during the day but good hearing, a keen eye and an early morning walk through the heath can produce the occasional image of this secretive bird. Being small winged it can’t escape danger through flight and the long tail inhibits anything other than small jump flights. It must hide in the scrub throughout the day and work its area for food. In the morning and late evening it will often climb a dead branch and make its territorial calls to the neighbouring tribes.
Southern Emu-wrens, Shipwreck Creek, Mallacoota, Victoria 21 Dec 2016
Displaying the delicate 5 tail feathers of a male Southern Emu-wren
On my yearly trip to Mallacoota I always plan to drive down to Shipwreck Creek and walk the track to Seal Creek. Along the way I expect to see a good range of rare birds, including Southern Emu-wren and the very rare Ground Parrot. I actually did see a Ground Parrot but it flushed and took off in a wild zig zag flight that made it impossible to film: video or photos. I will try again next year. What I managed to photograph was one of my favourite little birds – the Southern Emu-wren: a feisty tiny bird the size of a fairy-wren but with a much longer tail and very small wings that allow for short hops of flight. The Emu-wren requires a good expanse of knee to thigh-high heathland clear of foxes and cats. Very few exist now close to urban areas. I have only seen them at Shipwreck Creek and Cape Howe Wilderness Areas and at Anglesea Heath.
I found these guys fairly early in the morning along the track to Seal Creek but on the way back they had all disappeared back into the heathland scrub. The males will fly up to a dead bit of scrub in the heath and look at the intruders coming into his patch.
Shipwreck Creek, Far East Gippsland
Male Southern Emu-wren, Shipwreck Creek, Far East Gippsland,
Tiny wings and a long tail means that it is not a great flyer…
Showing the delicate feathers of a very long tail
Heathland, Shipwreck Creek, Far East Gippsland
Along with birds it is also full of Tiger and Red Bellied Black Snakes…
Posted in Bird Behaviour, Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australia, Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Seal Creek, Shipwreck Creek, Southern Emu Wren, Victoria
As part of of my recent stay at Mallacoota, I had planned to drive into the Cape Wilderness area and look for the Eastern Bristlebird – a rare bird on the Victorian side of the border. A location known to have a small population is Howe Flat, a coastal paperbark swamp near the wilderness coast. To find your way into the right area you need to drive into NSW and then loop back into Victoria via long narrow bush tracks. The area is not far from Mallacoota as the crow flies but it is on the other side of the inlet with no easy or direct access. It can take several hours of tough AWD/4WD driving through rainforest and tall trees. The last part of the track is quite narrow but winds through some beautiful country. I actually found a Bristlebird on the NSW side of the border while looping back into Victoria They have a distinctive call, but can be quite shy. It ran in front of the car, called a few times and then disappeared.
Arriving at Cape Howe Flat, I found the bird along the track to the coast fairly quickly – it was quite shy and stayed back in the vegetation but I did get a few shots.
It was a long but very rewarding day.
Cape Howe Wilderness vehicle track – I had to drive through several creeks and rainforest gullies to get to Howe Flat.
Cape Howe Wilderness vehicle track
Driving through creeks to get to the Cape Howe Wilderness Area
Cape Howe Wilderness, Howe Flat
Cape Howe Wilderness, Howe Flat, track to the coast and Eastern Bristlebird – the area was a bit swampy, the track under water or muddy in many parts.
Eastern Bristlebird, Cape Howe Wilderness Area
Quite a vocal bird, with a lovely distinctive call
Eastern Bristlebird – a nice view of the layered tail feathers
Cape Howe Wilderness Coast Line
On the way back from the coast, I came across a little colony of Southern Emu Wrens – a very nice surprise. I did not know that Wrens were found here as well.
Posted in Birds, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Cape Howe Wilderness Area, Cape Howe Wilderness Coast, Eastern Bristlebird, Howe Flat, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Southern Emu Wren, Victoria
Mallacoota is a great place for birders…maybe not so great for non-birding wives…there are many good places to explore and look for birds that are not very common in Victoria. The town is close to the NSW border and has a different climate to the rest of Victoria (warmer and more humid). It is a quiet town most of the year but becomes very crowded over the summer period due to being in the middle of a wilderness area and on the coast.
Southern Emu Wren along Shipwreck Creek to Seal Creek trail – 15 Dec, 2014
Silver Gull Bastian Pt Mallacoota – 13 Dec, 2014
Juvenile Eastern Yellow Robin, Shady Gully Reserve, Mallacoota – 14 Dec, 2014
Superb Fairy Wren, Gypsy Point, Victoria – 14 Dec, 2014
Black Faced Monarch, Double Creek Nature Trail, Mallacoota, Victoria – 15 Dec, 2014
White Headed Pigeon, Karbeethong, 16 Dec, 2014
December 21, 2014 in Birds, Mallacoota, Victoria
Tagged Australian Birds, Bird Photography, Black Faced Monarch, Eastern Yellow Robin, Mallacoota, Nature Photography, Photography, Silver Gull, Southern Emu Wren, Victoria, White Headed Pigeon