Tyto Wetlands, Ingham

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: Tyto Wetlands, Ingham
From: L&L Knight <>
Date: 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 long way.

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 exotic.

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.

Regards, Laurie.


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