White-browed Crakes and other Kimberley birds

Subject: White-browed Crakes and other Kimberley birds
From: Don and Llane Hadden <>
Date: Sat, 15 Apr 2006 19:47:50 +1200
We left Cocos at the end of January and have returned to
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
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
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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