Saturday, August 05, 2006

Spotless Crake

One of the "Jewels in the Crown", so to speak, at Gould's Lagoon, are the crakes. Earlier this year, John Tongue posted an article "Spotless Crake Spotted", and I was anxious to get some photographs of these rather elusive birds. After a couple of vigils, I was rewarded with brief sightings and managed the accompanying images, and as I'm still in the US, I've taken the opportunity to publish them. They were taken while the levels of the lagoon were low, which allowed the birds to forage outside of the dense reed beds. After a fairly long wait, this bird 'crept' out, constantly flicking it's tail, spent a short while feeding, before disappearing back into the reed bed. I was struck by how small it was and to the naked eye they appeared to have little colour. It was fortunate that the birds could be seen and photographed from the public hide.
Over the years, I have seen both Spotless and Spotted Crakes here, as well as Lewin's Rails, most frequently during the Winter months.

1 comment:

John Tongue said...

Hi Alan,
Hope your trip is still going well. This looks like it might well have been the same bird we saw when water levels were low, and it was feeding out on the mud, vivible from the hide. We would love to see the Spotted Crake or the Lewins Rail - will have to keep looking. We saw a couple of interesting waders yesterday (Sat) on the Birds-Tas outing. Two Greenshanks at Orielton Lagoon (maybe overwintering, or very early back), and about 30 Double-banded Plovers pretty much in full breeding plumage at Ralph's Bay, maybe ready to head back to NZ. Happy holidaying!