One of the Lewins Rails was visible from Bittern Hide again this morning, active on same log and branches for a few minutes in the rain. Can now delete “possible” qualifier as had good view of bill - Steve
From: Steve Read [
Sent: Tuesday, 23 December 2014 12:46 PM
Subject: Possible Lewins Rails at Jerrabomberra Wetlands
In Cygnet Hide this morning, the conversation between the patient photographers and the more recently arrived birdos went “Not much happening today”, “Yeah, same birds as yesterday”, “We’ll wander along to Bittern Hide then and see what’s there”, and “Watch out for the brown snake”.
Nothing at Bittern for a few minutes. Then, from the lush green vegetation and up onto the log off to the right, and then up onto the dead branches sticking up behind the log, flew two birds. Crakes, at least we thought initially. Much too big for Baillon’s. Streaked brown above. and white-patterned on grey below, so presumably Spotted Crakes, but not quite right for that – tails dark underneath, not white; breast not particularly spotted; legs brownish not yellow-green, and the birds didn’t have that stubby, greeny bill; and, when caught by the sun, the head and nape of neck clearly chestnut.
Had to be Lewins Rails. I’ve put “Possible” in the email subject line because these are new birds for my son Lach and I, and because I didn’t get a good long view at the bills to confirm these as clearly longer than the bill on a crake. Confirmation or different suggestions from others most welcome!
Interestingly, the rails were active for the few minutes that they were in view, chasing each other up and down the branches behind the log, perhaps a couple of metres above the vegetation, dropping back into the swamp, and returning to the log, weaving around the various ducks perched there. One lowered its body and fluttered its wings for a few seconds, in some form of display. We fetched the photographers from Cygnet, but of course this only ensured that the rails emerged no more.
Closer but briefer views were later had from Ardea hide, when the birds were spooked by a swamp-hen and flew a short distance into the reeds, but they didn’t emerge fully into view again.