Success with double twitch in the west.

To: <>, "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Success with double twitch in the west.
From: "Crispin Marsh" <>
Date: Tue, 5 Jun 2007 23:56:08 +1000
Dear Tony and other birders,
I did achieve a notable double in seeing both of the vagrants(Red-legged Crake 
and Black-tailed Gull) present in WA birds on the one trip! I did however have 
to backtrack from Karratha to Perth before going up to Geraldton. I got the 
impression that both birds are quite settled and will stay for a few more days 
or weeks.
The crake is a superb bird, small and very elegant; quite beautiful in fact. It 
is very comfortable with people around and quite calmly walks around the lawn 
feeding while one watches - it came within a meter of my feet as I sat quietly 
beside the lawn. The bird is seen on a rectangular lawn surrounded by mining 
dongas housing the workers from the Whim Creek Copper Mine. In each corner of 
the lawn are garden beds planted very closely with quite lush plants in which 
the crake hides when it is not feeding. I saw it feeding for about half an hour 
and it was taking food items from the lawn at the rate of about 1 per minute 
and a half. These included earthworms and insects as well as things too small 
to identify - in summary it seems to be well fed. The lawn is well watered with 
grey water so should have reasonable nutrient status. As everything around is 
very barren there is not much incentive for the bird to move.

The Gull is regrettably notable only because of its rarity! It is a rather 
nondescript young thing with none of the beauty or elegance of the Crake. I 
found it quite easily using the directions on Birding-Aus provided by others. 
It was not immediately seen on the structure referred to as fuel lines (but in 
reality sea water intakes for the fish processing works) but flew in a few 
minutes after I arrived. It firstly drank from a puddle on the jetty and then 
obligingly provided a well illuminated view sitting on the aforementioned 
structure. The Silver and Pacific Gulls with it provided good contrast - it is 
readily distinguishable even from the juvenile Pacifics by shape, size, 
colour,and  bill size, shape and colouring.

I did try for Rufous-crowned Emu-wren around Karratha and for Chiming Wedgebill 
north of Geraldton with no success - some people want everything!

Peter (only Crispin at work :-) )

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