Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Grassbirds & Duck

On Tuesday morning, with a less than promising forecast, I decided on a trip to Gould's Lagoon at Granton. My main aim was to see whether the Reed Warblers (I should , of course, call them Clamorous Reed Warbler), were about yet. These warblers are mainly Summer migrants to Tasmania. I say mainly, because in some years I have heard them calling, usually on still sunny days in June, in the reedbeds of the Tamar River.
I arrived to see the railings on the walkway to the public hide, 'covered' in Chestnut Teal and Black Duck, all reluctant to move as I accessed the hide. From the hide I recorded many of the usual inhabitants, including Blue-winged Shovellers, Coot, Little Pied , Little Black and Great Cormorants, a few Kelp Gulls, a Great Egret, and several Purple Swamphen. As I wandered back to the car park, I scanned (and listened) over the reed beds for warblers, none. But I could hear the plaintive call of several Little Grassbirds. I stood patiently on the walkway, hoping that I might glimpse one, my vigil broken by a well meaning local, who deposited 2 loaves of sliced bread in the lagoon almost in front of where I was standing. This caused some mayhem among the ducks and feral geese! I wasn't impressed, but he did ask me whether I wanted some bread to feed to the ducks. I declined, and was about to suggest that it probably wasn't the best diet for the wildfowl, but decided against it. Well it was wholemeal bread!! But back to the story. I had glimpses of several Little Grassbirds as they dashed between clumps of reeds, and I could see reeds moving as they scavenged amongst them. Just as I was about to give up, one took pity on me and stopped just long enough for me to take the single photograph above. Hardly a definitive photograph of a grassbird, but better than nothing. Just as I neared the car park, a solitary Swift Parrot flew out of the Blue Gums, only my second sighting this Spring.
If Little Grassbirds have eluded you so far, you could do worse than pay a visit to Gould's. I suggest you listen to a recording of their call before you go, it will greatly help finding them, and be patient!

1 comment:

John & Shirley Tongue said...

These shy little critters can be tough cookies to track down!