They say, find a waterhole and Africa comes to you. Well, it seems this old adage applies equally well in Australia!
While driving round the Bowra Conservancy near Cunnamulla over Easter we came across a waterhole with great photography potential and settled down to see what turns up. After an unsuccessful attempt to use a camouflage sheet as a hide the day before, I decided to set up in plain sight at the waters edge and use the sheet as a cover from the flies and dust. Surprisingly it worked. Well..sort of worked. While some birds and kangaroos, although clearly thirsty, backed off from the strange apparition other birds and a small group of emus were not fussed.
The outcome was some great close-up shots of emu’s quenching their thirst. Despite years photographing in Africa we have never seen an ostrich drink, so it was interesting to see their emu cousins squat down with lower legs splayed forwards and drink in a deep scooping motion that filled their beaks with water, all the while looking directly at the camera. After long hot dry days swatting flies, which in the Australian bush bug you by the thousands this was the sort of lucky break we needed to make the trip worthwhile.
While the drinking motion took up most of my attention, I did manage to also grab a few classic portrait shots of typical emu hairstyles which are always interesting.
Shortly after the emu’s departed we were treated to the spectacle of a large flock of galahs drinking, but this will be the topic of the next blog!