Sunday 2/3/08. Lewin's seen about 5 times in various places opposite the
southern platform between 7 and 7.15am.
At one stage I saw it calling, which is the first time I've seen this.
Couldn't see its bill opening but could see its chest moving with each
call. First there was mmmrrrupp, repeated three times and answered from
the reeds to the left of the platform. That call can be heard on the
BOCA CD, about 36 seconds in, just before the galloping call. This was
followed by a sort of soft braying which I can neither describe nor
remember properly. I've never heard this before and there's nothing on
the BOCA CDs like it. In my notes I wrote sccrr-orr - I think the first
"syllable" would be made during an intake of breath.
Spotless Crakes were showing well at various places around the pond, as
were Little Grassbirds and Black-fronted dotterels, and an Australian
Hobby landed on the train wires and began plucking something it had
Monday 3/3/08 Spent about 20 mins at the southern platform on the way
to the train. A Lewin's showed itself on the mud in front of the gap
between the two reed types opposite at about 8.15am, and wandered in the
reeds to the right of that for a short while.
A few Spotless Crakes were out, one feeding in the open the whole time
on the large mudflat that's now exposed at the east end.
Water level is now 1.05m and there's at least some mud showing most of
the way around, with most of the east end being mud and a strip a couple
of feet wide opposite the southern platform. I've had to resort to
photographing the gauge so I can scale readings from it, as it's too
dirty to read below 1.15. At this level it's sometimes possible to see
crakes and rails feeding a foot or so into the reeds, so a bit of
peering in can sometimes be fruitful.
The inlet at the northern platform is now showing enough mud to expect
that Lewin's Rail and Spotless Crake might be seen there too.
Both mornings were very still. Most of the days I've missed out have
been quite windy. Gavin Jackson reported seeing two Lewin's Rails on
Saturday evening in what he described as "moderately windy", so I'm not
sure if these were just flukes.
A tip for those trying for Lewin's: I have been surprised by the number
of times I have spotted them with my binoculars rather than the naked
eye. The barred flanks seem to blend well with the reeds, particularly
the finer reeds (juncus?) and you can't expect to always notice it with
your eyes alone unless it comes right out. This is especially true in
low light. Better eyes than mine might not have this problem.
Location: Melway ref 54 C10, behind Mt St Joseph Girls' College, north
of the railway line.
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