ADVERTISEMENT from Graeme Chapman
To all grasswren fans,
For much of my professional career I worked with Ian Rowley of fairy-wren fame
and I guess that's what sparked my initial interest in the grasswrens. It was a
I like to think that my "Grasswrenning around Australia" lectures I gave back
in the 1990's at O'Reilly's Bird Weeks actually started the current craze about
this little known and sometimes very ordinary looking group of birds. If I am
wrong about this I am happy to be corrected! I used to suggest that seeing them
all was a good excuse to travel all around Australia. I still do! At that
time, I had succeeded in photographing most of the species, and even the
subspecies which are now being elevated to species status and I did this on
film, with manual focus lenses and often with 25 asa Kodachrome film.
Another prompt was my article in WINGSPAN magazine Vol 6 No. 1 March 1996 which
was essentially an eight page summary of that lecture and that issue sold out
in no time.
Most people who are keen on grasswrens will have probably already consulted my
website, if only to get the sound, which is freely available and of very high
quality. I have many hundreds of images of grasswrens, possibly even more than
a thousand, I've never counted them. Recently, I decided to show more of them
off, so on pages 16 and 17 of the TOP SHOTS section of my website I've added a
few of my better pictures. There are already a few others such as Grey
Grasswren scattered through the other TOP SHOT pages.
I have been considering preparing a folio of archival quality prints for sale
of my better grasswren images - whether I do it or not depends on how much
interest there is and I am open to suggestions or enquiries.
Many older people can't hear the higher frequency grasswren calls. That makes
it doubly difficult to locate the birds. My advice is don't even try on windy
days. Not only is it more difficult to hear the birds, if you are using replay,
they can't hear you either - and in windy weather, birds sing very little
anyway. Also allow plenty of time - grasswrens have much bigger territories
than ordinary fairy-wrens and if you just walk in expecting to see them in the
same place they were previously, you may just be lucky but mostly you won't.
To all you folks who are planning a grasswren bash in the near future, have a
good time and good luck. Such an itinerary will take you to all sorts of far
flung places where you'll see some terrific birds and have memorable
experiences that you'll remember forever. I know, I have.
While you're at it, why not add the fairy-wrens into the mix - that will really
keep you busy! The real challenge there is the beautiful blue female of the
subspecies dulcis of the Variegated Fairy-wren, which I have yet to see or
photograph, in fact I've never even seen a photograph. Surely there must be one
out there somewhere. The problem is that they live up in the sandstone along
with the White-throated Grasswrens which are now the most difficult grasswren
of all to locate.
Graeme Chapman www.graemechapman.com.au
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