Conditions report - Mt St Joseph pond, Altona, Vic

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Subject: Conditions report - Mt St Joseph pond, Altona, Vic
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Fri, 4 Apr 2008 10:28:56 +1100
Quick summary: probably not worth bothering looking for Lewin's Rail or
Spotless Crakes here till the water level drops another 10cm.

Still haven't spent much time at the pond, but ran into a couple of
people who had spent a couple of hours one evening and again the next
morning without seeing either Lewin's Rail or Spotless Crake.  The water
level is at 1.23m, not much affected by rain that fell during this
week's storms but still 10cm too high for any mud to show.

One piece of shadecloth from the northern platform was blown into the
water and I'll try and retrieve it on the weekend.  Rather than remove
all the shadecloth over the winter, I think I'll just attach it more
permanently.  The northern platform has always been a bit useless
because of the difficulty approaching without scaring everything away,
so perhaps we'll see something else interesting there with the
shadecloth in place.

The storm seems to have collapsed the reeds a little, so now one can
view the far north east corner from a spot 20m or so to the east of the
southern platform (if you're tall enough).  This had become hidden over
the last couple of months.  Unfortunately the shadecloth at the northern
platform is now easily visible over the reeds from the path by the
railway line, so hopefully that doesn't attract vandals.

This morning as I passed I heard what I'm fairly sure was a Lewin's deep
in the reeds at the south east corner of the pond.  It was the second
type of call on the BOCA CDs, a thin squeal.  I also heard a call that
might have been a Spotless Crake, from the west end, but it didn't sound
quite right to me.

Interesting recent sightings:
- Nankeen Kestrel over vacant land north of the pond.
- A female robin of some kind(!) in the same area.
- Probable Rufous Fantail in the bushes on the north side of the pond
(sorry, only saw its rump as it disappeared).
- Possible bronzewing seen at both platforms.  Very dark with two dark
wing bars.  I'm daring to suggest it might be a young Brush Bronzewing
but I just haven't had a proper look yet and I've never seen one before.
Never seen Common Bronzewings here either.

Sorry about all those vague sightings, but I only said they were
interesting, not definite.

Location:  Melway ref 54 C10, behind Mt St Joseph Girls' College in
Altona, north of the railway line. Closest parking to the northern
platform (200m) is at the corner of Galvin St and Civic Pde. Truganina
Swamp is on the other side of the railway line to the pond.

Peter Shute

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