Comb-crested Jacana & Australasian Grebe

Subject: Comb-crested Jacana & Australasian Grebe
Date: Sun, 10 Sep 2000 18:07:43 +0800
Yesterday and today I quickly surveyed the Alluvials reclaim dam at the
Argyle Diamond Mine in the north east Kimberley of WA.  On both days I
noticed that several Comb-crested Jacanas were being followed by immature
Australasian Grebes.  The jacanas would walk over the floating weed / algae
and the grebe would swim about half a metre behind ducking its head to

The reclaim dam is roughly 100 metres square.  Typha has established in
small areas in the NW and NE corners and there is floating weed in these
corners and a few small areas around the edge.  This must have occurred
this year, as previous times that I have looked at this dam, there was
hardly a bird on it (a few Australasian Grebes and maybe a Darter).

There has a big increase in the number of Comb-crested Jacanas on the
Argyle mining lease this year, as well as Green Pygmy-Geese.  One pair of
jacanas bred on this dam in May / June and fledged two young.  There are
now six jacanas on this dam, three on a nearby tailings dam, and one on a
dam close to the main mine.  There used to be up to 35 Green Pygmy-Geese on
a siltation pond close to the mine a few years ago until typha reeds
covered the pond completely.  I didn't record them again until this year
when 15 were reported on this Alluvials reclaim dam.  There are now 25 on
this dam, and another 20+ on the dam close to the mine.

Last month I recorded the first sighting of a White-browed Crake on this
Alluvials reclaim dam.  I returned yesterday to see if it was still
present.  I found it on the edge of the typha.  I took my eye off it and
lost it briefly.  Then a few metres away I saw movement and there was the
first record at Argyle for an Ausralian Spotted Crake.  Shortly after I
surveyed the tailings dam at Alluvials and saw a Baillon's Crake (where I
saw two the previous month).  This is one of the few times anywhere in
Australia that I have seen three species of crake / rail in day.  The
others were at Thomson's Lake in Perth (Spotted, Spotless, Baillon's),
along the Oddnadatta Track in SA (ditto), and at the crocodile farm in
Cairns (White-browed, Baillon's and Buff-banded Rail).

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