Please help a novice birder!

To: birding aus <>
Subject: Please help a novice birder!
From: jade welch <>
Date: Tue, 8 Jan 2008 19:19:29 +1000
Catherine, Having birded in the Warrnambool area many times whilst visiting 
family over the years i have come across many Black-tailed Native Hen's which i 
believe your birds to be. They can also be seen around the playground at Lake 
Pertobe. I hope this helps to answer your question. <html><DIV>Yours 
Sincerely</DIV><DIV>Mr Jade Welch</DIV><DIV>Gold Coast, </DIV><DIV>Queensland 
</DIV><DIV>&nbsp;</DIV><DIV>&nbsp;</DIV></html>> -----Original Message-----> 
From: > 
 On Behalf Of Catherine Sheedy> Sent: 
Sunday, 6 January 2008 4:23 PM> To: > Subject: 
[Birding-Aus] Please help a novice birder!> > > Dear all...> > 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,  Sheedy> 
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