I am very much in need of help in solving an identification problem!
I live in Warrnambool, Victoria, where my house is settled directly opposite
the Merri Wetlands, nearer to the Levy's Point section of the Merri River.
Facing my backyard is open farmland, which is subjected to yearly flooding when
the rain falls. There is the 'official' Merri River cutting below our backyard,
whereas at the back of the farmland, there is an 'unofficial' Merri River below
the coastal shrublands.
It is here that I have recently been focusing my binoculars on over the past 12
years we have lived, but more enthusiastically over the past year or two.
Today, at approx. 3:15pm, I was taking in all of the fascinating birds resting
in the lazy summer sun (Little Pied Cormorants, Pacific Black Ducks, a Great
Egret and a Great Cormorant) when I caught a flash of movement in and around
the base of a isolated tree near the river's edge.
What I saw were 5 birds that bore the resemblance of a moorhen, yet I couldn't
say that that was what they were. I'm used to seeing Dusky Moorhens occupying
this area, but these seemed slightly different. Through the binoculars, they
were a similar size to a moorhen; their tails seemed to stand completely
upright. There were no discernable white markings on the birds, as when they
scuttled back under the tree, they were a slate-grey colour up top, and maybe a
ruddish colour? Their legs were reddish, and their beak appeared to be a grey,
black, with no additional markings on their face. They were feeding as a group
on the ground, and seemed to move as one unit. They were only out for maybe 5
minutes before heading back out of view under the tree.
I couldn't locate my camera at home, so I'm presently searching for it, and
hope that they may appear again. I'm not holding my breath as I have never
spotted them before.
Could anyone offer some suggestions? I don't want to jump ahead of myself and
proclaim to be Spotless Crakes, but if someone is familiar with the area and
could lend a hand, all answers would be more than welcome!
I turned 25 in Dec last year, and have decided to take my birdwatching more
seriously considering I have a most wonderful backdrop as my backyard and would
love to know the ins and outs of my wetland lot!
Thanks so much in advance, Catherine Sheedy
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