SPLENDID FAIRY-WREN (Malurus splendent)

I’ve been trying to get close enough to the small birds that feed on the low-lying field of Frogs Hollow on sunny afternoons, but either I haven’t got my 150-500mm lens with me on my walk OR they fly away before I can get close enough.  Finally I decided to just share these images.  I accept I will never get closer to get a really decent shot.

First I saw them next to the wood pile between my apartment building and the path leading to the river. I couldn’t get close enough, but there were about a dozen wrens hopping around on the grass or on the newly cut trees. Apparently these trees were cut as they weren’t native to the area and will soon by taken away by the Nature reserve ranger/staff. Shame about that in one way, as the pile were good cover for small birds from larger predators.

Mostly, in trying to photograph small wild birds, I am having trouble hand-holding the heavy lens as I follow the tiny birds as they continually hop around.   A tripod would be of no use in this type of situation.

About a week and half ago, I managed to capture them in a bit better focus, together with a flock of red-browed Finches and Red-rumped Parrots.  All together there must have been about 30 birds of the 3 species in the one area.

I managed to catch one in the grass.

Than I caught the backside of one walking down the gravel path.

I think all the Fairy-wrens were females.

Than I followed about 5 birds as they hopped down towards the river, eating grass seed at the path edge along the way.

I have to say that I find trying to photograph tiny wild birds more than a bit of a challenge.  I realise how lucky I was when I was living next to the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne for 15 years.  Most of the birds I photographed were used to humans and I could get quite close.  Even the herons or cormorants on the large lake island usually stood still in the afternoon sun and I was able to use a tripod.

The following 2 shots were the closest I ever got to the wrens when living on the north-eastern side of Melbourne next to the Yarra River.  They are males.

This shot was made in deep shade so I’ve lightened the shadows in PP as much as I could without getting too much ‘noise’ or graininess in the image. In this case I had to watch the patch of blue flitting about among the green foliage and brown tree trunks as the rest of the bird was hard to see in the deep shade.

This shot of a male Splendid Fairy-wren was the best I’ve ever shot in the past. Apparently the males change to all-blue in the breeding season, but I’ve never seen one completely blue.

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12 Comments on “SPLENDID FAIRY-WREN (Malurus splendent)

  1. I love seeing the wrens. There aren’t very many cuter birds and I love their perky attitudes. Hard to photograph though!

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    • I really should give up trying to photograph tiny wild birds, but I guess I love the challenge and trying to creep up as close as I can and then, just trying to hold the heavy long lens still 🙂

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      • But it’s worth the effort for that one good shot! The most I have is a 70-300mm though and I seldom carry that any more because of the weight (and bulk) of it and the camera. Add a tripod and the weight of my normal pack and I would have to hire a sherpa.

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    • I can’t carry hardly any weight at all now and certainly couldn’t carry a normal pack like you do, Terry. Now if Frogs Hollow nature reserve was accessible without all that thick high undergrowth, I could walk the 100 feet to the boundary with only a camera, tiny water bottle and wallet/phone in my coat pocket for emergencies. Next Spring, I might try about 50 feet further along the western side and see if I can push further in to it safely. The trees and branches are thick, but the ground cover is very low in one spot. I’m always mindful of turning an ankle (as I’ve had so many sprained ankles in my adult lifetime, it’s almost a joke).

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      • Maybe one of the new friends you made there can get a little of the brush cleared for you (and others) to have better access next Spring.

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    • Thanks John. I’ve taken some very good bird shots over the early years of my 7 year hobby, so I tend to compare recent shots to those and get a bit disappointed with the last couple of years bird photography. (note to self: I’ve really got to stop comparing wild bird shots to semi-tame bird shots in the Botanic Gardens) 🙂

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    • Thanks Pete. I’m sure you can tell how easy those blue males are to spot. I wish to see a male in breeding season though – now that brilliant all-over blue looks stunning on Mr Google images. Actually, after I uploaded this post, I found a better shot of the female in a tree in my archives. Maybe the thing to do is sit on the ground and sit perfectly still with the camera on and wait for them to walk up towards me 🙂

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    • Thanks for your comment. I think they’re very special and get a real thrill out of seeing so many in the one spot.

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  2. What amazing plumage! Their iridescent throat feathers appear to be the blue equivalent of the scarlet ones on our ruby-throated hummingbirds. Well done, Vicki!

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