Birding Aus <>
Tyto Wetlands, Ingham
L&L Knight <>
Sun, 11 Nov 2007 20:29:47 +1000
I was sitting in the bird-hide with a colleague last week. There were
far fewer birds to be seen in the early afternoon heat compared to the
abundance I had seen six hours previously.
I heard a frog-like call from some nearby bulrushes. I "answered" it
and a couple of minutes later a White-browed Crake popped out and
wandered around the edge of the water in front of the hide, allowing me
to get some good photographs from 5 metres.
Late the previous afternoon my colleague and I were checking into our
motel when the receptionist mentioned the wetlands and I noticed the
rather flash information building across the road. Fifteen minutes
later I was making my way to the swamp.
There were a lot of Crimson Finches feeding on the path on the way to a
hillock overlooking the water. A Swedish couple with a scope mentioned
that they had seen a White-browed Crake at the edge of the rushes about
30 metres away. I hadn't seen that species previously, so settled down
to see if it would re-emerge. I could see the tail end of a bird that
might have been a WBC, but in the end, all I could see were a trio of
Spotless Crakes wandering about on the mud.
Walking back to the bridge across a constructed pond, I came across a
chorus of about 20 Bush Thickknees spread around the pond. A couple
flew away - the first time I'd seen BTKs in flight - their legs trail a
I was back at the wetland at dawn the next morning. It seemed that
there were hundreds of Agile Wallabies hopping about.
I didn't have to wait too long on the hillock before a WBC emerged from
bulrushes. The light was too dim and it was too far away to get usable
photos, so I wandered around to the bird-hide. There were plenty of
birds to be seen, including a family of Wandering Whistling Ducks and
pairs of Green Pygmy-Geese.
The hide was well set up for a person of my height, but there wasn't
too much to see there, so I moved on. I saw a smallish wader while I
was wandering along around the water - it took me a surprisingly long
time to work out that it was just a Sharpie - one of those species you
get in both fresh and salt water environments.
I then headed cross-country to check out the Grass Owl viewing platform
- again, it appeared to be well set-up with good views across a vast
expanse of rushes. On the way, I stopped to photograph a Tawny
Grassbird in a shrub, when a pied cock-tailed bird landed almost in
front of the lens. "Who the ____ are you?" I asked as I snapped away.
A quick check of the book revealed it was a White-browed Robin [a
species I had seen 8 years earlier at Lawn Hill] and not something more
It was time to head back to the motel to get ready for the work
meeting, so I popped back to the hide and was rewarded with a closer
view of a WBC.
In summary. The Tyto Wetlands and associated info centre have been
heavily influenced by the efforts of John Young, who lives nearby.
There are a lot of birds to be seen in a well-laid out complex and
there is a lot to be said for the bird displays in the info centre. I
think it may the best wetland to be found within a kilometre of a town
hall in Australia. If you haven't had good views of a WBC, then it is
worth checking out as you pass through or stay at Ingham.
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L&L Knight <=
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