re: Crakes and Rails

Subject: re: Crakes and Rails
Date: Thu, 13 Nov 1997 17:18:39 +0800

It was good to get Roger Jaensch's comments.  There are few if any people
in Australia with more experience.

A little bit more about Baillon's Crakes at the Argyle Diamond Mine in the
north east Kimberley of WA.  I have been keeping records of the species
recorded during my last 87 'commutes'.  I have recorded Baillon's Crakes on
18 commutes in every month of the year except February (but this is an
abberation because January and March are the months with the most records
of 3).  18 out of 87 is not a true indication as I don't always get a
chance during a commute to check out suitable areas.  A good comparison is
with Purple Swamphen which I have seen on 38 commutes and I would almost
certainly see when (and only when) I visit suitable habitat.

Most of my records were on one siltation pond.  This initially had
surrounding typha except for a couple of places where the shore was bare.
I would always find up to 5 birds.  As I approached the pond the crakes
would disappear into the typha, but if I stood still they would come out
often very close and unconcerned about my presence.  This pond then started
to get lilies on the surface which is when the number of birds increased.
After about 12 months the pond was taken over completely with typha and I
no longer inspect it.

The Baillon's Crake is the only crake that I have seen swimming (on quite a
number of occasions).  Do the others swim?

Argyle is not that far from Kununurra (200km by road, about 150km by air),
and yet I have not recorded White-browed Crake which is very common and
easily seen in Kununurra.

I have only one record of Buff-banded Rail at Argyle.

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