RE: Chestnut-rumped Heathwren at Pierce's Creek

To: <>
Subject: RE: Chestnut-rumped Heathwren at Pierce's Creek
From: "Lindsay & Diana Nothrop" <>
Date: Thu, 7 May 2009 10:29:14 +1000
I had a couple of requests off line for more info so I thought I would add some tips (being a heathwren novice beforehand and now an "expert"!!) for anyone else like Julian and myself venturing out to Pierce's Creek.  At first sight it looks hopeless - a needle in a haystack.
Firstly when we were there at least, the birds were on the move. At least that was our impression.  That means they did not stay long around any particular location or bush.  One bird covered 30 metres along the ground relatively quickly - we had glimpses at say 5 or 10 metre intervals.  Those that did respond to the taped call seemed only to make a diversion on their route in order to swing past the noise and then keep going. 
As mentioned they are furtive, elusive and all those other words.  I found my eyes would detect movement (I would be hopeless in a breeze) but by the time I looked at the spot, they had disappeared.  As there were Brown Thornbills and fairy wrens about, I found myself anticipating the heathwren's trajectory in order to get sufficient time for a positive ID. 
Two separate birds at one stage flew to 1 to 1 1/2 metre height in a bush and called.  Those were the best observations but again we just had time to clap binos to the eyes and say "wow" and they were gone.
My hearing is so poor that only once could I hear their call.  Julian was better equipped so I recommend taking along a good set of ears.  Sometimes they responded to the tape (mine was BOCA one) with a call and sometimes only with their presence.
Finally I suggest a mental attitude of looking for a fast mouse rather than a bird.
Lindsay Nothrop

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