Spotless Crakes at Wilson Reserve (Ivanhoe, Vic)

To: bird <>, Robert Bender <>
Subject: Spotless Crakes at Wilson Reserve (Ivanhoe, Vic)
From: brian fleming <>
Date: Fri, 30 Dec 2005 15:58:30 +1100
  With 33°+ heat forecast today, I walked round Wilson Reserve between
7.30 and 8.30 a.m. (EDST) this morning. When I investigated the Reedy
Billabong, from its east side, I first looked at a baby Dusky Moorhen
pursuing its parent across the water in the distance - then something
rail-shaped but even smaller than the Moorhen chick suddenly flew out of
sedges beneath me and across the water to disappear into tall vegetation
opposite.  Spotless Crake! Plain dark plumage, no red eyering so
probably immature.  Of course I started looking carefully around the
edges and got a glimpse of another Spotless Crake to my left and beneath
me at the water's edge. It disappeared under the projection of the
ash-tree stump I was standing on, then reappeared and dashed very
briskly across a few yards of mud into reeds and sedges again.
   I first saw Spotless Crakes here in about 1980, and have seen them
quite a few times since. I have occasionally seen their chicks (tiny
balls of black fluff supported by very speedy legs).   They are
notoriously cryptic,  but I think it remarkable that a bird whose
distribution is mainly known from 'specimens brought in by cats'  should
persist in such a suburban area. ( I have also seen them in the Bailey
Billabong on occasion.)
   Anthea Fleming
    in Ivanhoe
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