Reflectioons on log-watching at Kelly Swamp

To: "'Geoffrey Dabb'" <>, <>
Subject: Reflectioons on log-watching at Kelly Swamp
From: "Philip Veerman" <>
Date: Fri, 26 Dec 2014 11:09:23 +1100
The last line of the ditty brings to mind the curiously wrong bit of text in McComas Taylor's generally nice ACT bird FG book that the B-b Rail is "the largest local member of the family" (which would have been improved by adding "on this page, three larger ones are on the next page"). But these crake photos sure show off these bird's long toes.........
-----Original Message-----
From: Geoffrey Dabb [
Sent: Friday, 26 December 2014 10:45 AM
Subject: [canberrabirds] Reflectioons on log-watching at Kelly Swamp

During an hour or two log watching at Kelly Swamp over the last couple of days, I found the time could be passed by mentally composing a little verse:


Crakeless in the morning light the dead tree sprawls supine,

where coot and moorhen come to play, and brownish ducks recline.

Our eyes ache for a smaller shape, that quick and furtive skulk,

but all the rails in view today are of a larger bulk.


Actually that’s not quite accurate.  When a night heron flew onto the dead tree this morning, Shorty saw a crakelike shape flush from lower down. When this reappeared in the tangled branches it was clearly the little chap that Louis Vieillot, in 1819, called Rallus Bailloni for the natural history collector ‘who first discovered it in Picardy where it arrives in the month of April’ .  This is the species some have seen in the last couple of days, but it does not rule out a Lewin’s Rail at the same spot, that other chap having been regularly reported by its call over the last few months, in the general vicinity.

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