Since I was a young boy I have always been fascinated by the big flightless birds that roam the grass- and woodlands of our planet. I guess their long neck, inquisitive look and striding gait are just a few of the hallmarks that make those animals so completely different and unique. But as these birds only inhabit the continents of the Southern Hemisphere I had to wait a long time to see them in the wild – you might therefore understand my excitement when I spotted my first Ostrich on the plains near Satara in South Africa’s Kruger Park almost 20 years ago.
The fascination for big birds never left, so when we heard a family of eight Emus (daddy with his offspring) regularly visited the dam of our friends vineyard in Pemberton, we were getting ourselves ready for some serious bird watching. The beautiful backdrop of this place – a vineyard surrounded by tall golden grass and towering Karri trees smack-bang in the middle of Gloucester National Park – would allow us to take some dramatic shots of those three-toed ratites. But first we had to wait for the Emus to come out of the thick vegetation in order to get a decent view, and hope they would head in the right direction in order to avoid over exposition because of the harsh sunlight. Our patience got rewarded with a terrific show of cautious drinking and bathing after which the group strode up and down through the waving grass – always keeping a safe distance from us but close enough to get what we wanted!