White-browed Crakes and other Kimberley birds

To: "Birding Aus" <>
Subject: White-browed Crakes and other Kimberley birds
From: "Don and Llane Hadden" <>
Date: Fri, 14 Apr 2006 07:53:33 +0800
We left Cocos at the end of January and have returned to Kupungarri Aboriginal 
Community/Mt Barnett 300km east of Derby along the Gibb River Road. There has 
been significant rain this wet season and the Barnett River has been impassable 
since Christmas Day. There are 3 sewage ponds but usually only one has water in 
it. This year all 3 are totally full. No one here can remember when that last 
happened. And what turns up in this new habitat? A group of White-browed 
Crakes. How did they know there were suitable conditions this year? I have seen 
a number of White-browed Crake nests on Bougainville and all were built over 
water. So hoping I was thinking like a White-browed Crake would think I decided 
where the best place would be for a nest and before long found a 5 egg nest. 
The next day I watched another White-browed Crake leading 4 partly grown chicks 
right past the nest site. Perhaps the male with a first brood while the female 
sat on a second clutch.

Haven't been able to get down to Manning Gorge yet (too wet) to check on 
White-quilled Rock-pigeons. However they fly up off the Gibb River Road near 
the rocky gorges. The road is still closed at the moment so there are no 
tourists yet so the Rock-pigeons have the road to themselves except for 
residents like ourselves who just have to negotiate it on occasions. Quite a 
few transients have come and gone sometimes within hours eg Whiskered Tern, 
Red-kneed Dotterel, Purple Swamphen, Rainbow Bee-eaters, Masked Lapwing and 
Reed-warbler. A Dollarbird stayed a couple of days. Some birds are busy nesting 
such as Long-tailed and Crimson Finches. The former regularly use corners of 
sheds. Also Grey-crowned Babblers, Singing Bushlark, Red-backed Fairywren, 
Striated Pardalote, Australasian Grebe and Bar-breasted Honeyeater. They also 
nest over water and with so many ponds this year Bar-breasted Honeyeaters are 
constructing their nests all over the place and not just along the Barnett 
River. The Brown Quail and Red-backed Button-Quail can be heard calling and the 
White-throated Gerygone sings from the tree by our front door each afternoon.

I will be going into Mitchell Falls again in a few weeks (providing I can cross 
the King Edward).  If anyone is planning a trip up this way later this year 
please feel free to email me and I may be able to give you up-to-date info on 
birds and road conditions.

Don Hadden

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