Grasswrens and fairy-wrens.

Subject: Grasswrens and fairy-wrens.
From: Graeme Chapman <>
Date: Fri, 8 May 2015 08:42:29 +1000
 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
<BR> Birding-Aus mailing list
<BR> To change settings or unsubscribe visit:

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU