Tuesday, January 15, 2008

Gould's Lagoon "Chicks"

This morning,I tried yet again, to get some meaningful shots of the Little Grassbirds at Gould's Lagoon. I had noticed that at the moment, there are good numbers here, largely boosted by this year's youngsters. They're really frustrating birds to see, let alone photograph, and this morning's outing was nothing different. They were coming out to feed on a strip of newly exposed mud, which gave me some hope. But it was while I was concentrating on the Grassbirds, that I noticed out of the corner of my eye, a movement among the reeds to my right. On closer inspection, I could see that it was a very dark, very young chick, which after briefly looking at me, scampered back into the reed bed. I decided, wrongly as it turned out, that it was probably a newly hatched Purple Swamphen chick, a common bird here. The size should have been a giveaway! Back to the Grassbirds. Ten minutes or more later, it reappeared, this time with a parent--an Australian Crake. What a great surprise! For the next quarter of an hour, the adult and two, or possibly three, chicks fed around the margins of the swamp, never far from the saf
ety of the reed bed. The chicks foraged for themselves, but were quick to accept food offered by the adult. Passing vehicles often caused them to scurry back to cover, but they were equally quick to re-emerge. However, the excitement wasn't quite over yet. As they continued to feed, they were coming ever closer. Eventually, the adult walked into the very small patch of reeds that I was in.(I was going to say "concealed in", but in fact I was standing up, head and shoulders above the reeds). Feeding as it passed among the reed stems until no more than a foot away, followed later by one of the youngsters. Great stuff! (absolutely useless for photography, but a great experience). After feeding for five or so minutes, they walked off down a narrow passageway in the reeds and disappeared from sight. As you can see, I managed a few shots, which, more than anything, are a personal record of a memorable encounter. [There are few Australian Crake breeding records for Tasmania]


Duncan said...

Nice one Alan!

BirdingTas said...

Hi Duncan,
Thanks for commenting. It was a memorable morning, but what I didn't mention was the deep gooey stinking mud that I had to stand in for most of it!

Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,
Great shots of a great bird! Still very jealous! I'm at home at the moment, but the rest of family are in Hobart, so will probably head out to the lagoon for a look!