Painted Snipe is still at Banyule!

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Subject: Painted Snipe is still at Banyule!
From: "Joy Knight" <>
Date: Thu, 8 Nov 2001 18:47:44 +1100
As I have just had knee surgery and can't walk far I visited the "Grubby Pool" at Banyule again today hoping to catch another glimpse of the Painted Snipe.
Arrived around 2pm, aimed the binoculars to where I had last seen it hunkered down in the reeds two weeks ago and it was in exactly the same place, the only difference being that the rubbish marker had changed from a green plastic bag to a hard piece of blue plastic.
I was quickly joined by Celia Browne, Denise Moore and later Jenny Flood. We had what we thought were good views through Denise's scope (on 60 zoom) of the bird while it snoozed in the reeds and occasionally opened a very large red eye and slightly shifted position, but then just before 4pm - we'd decided to give it till then - the sun came out and the Painted Snipe started to move.
It came out from the Dock weeds and stood on the mud flat for a few moments and then it started moving very quickly - one could even say it ran - along the mud flats on the right of the pool. It stopped just short of the island and gave us magnificent views of a Painted Snipe performing its toilette - preening, raising up on straight legs and flapping raised wings, wading and bathing. It started feeding and continually scissoring the water with its bill.
We watched while it "did a Tawny"and "went cryptic" when a Dusky Moorhen approached too closely. The bird hunkered down in the water with its bill just under and parallel to the surface of the water, to all intents and purposes it was a chunk of wood, but we knew differently!
In the sun we saw strong chestnut on the back of head and nape of neck and beautiful golden rufous spots/barring under the wing. Denise could provide a more detailed description, but to me the bird appeared to be halfway between the immature female and the mature female shown in the Moorcombe Field Guide.
Celia indicated that today provided her best views so far!
For those needing specific details of how to get there -
Park up on Banyule Road in one of the offcut parking areas
Walk down the grassy hill to the "Grubby Pool" on extreme left of the fenced off area
Go through the gate and follow the well worn track through the grass to the log under the tree
Blue piece of hard plastic and bottle in the reeds should be opposite you at the far end of the pool.
Good luck!
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