Lewin's Rail - Mt St Joseph pond, Altona, Vic

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Subject: Lewin's Rail - Mt St Joseph pond, Altona, Vic
From: "Peter Shute" <>
Date: Fri, 18 Apr 2008 09:38:54 +1000
Water level has dropped to at least 1.13m now (very hard to read), but
mud is still not quite showing opposite the southern platform because of
the now dying grass that grew up there after the long dry period.

This morning about 8am at the southern platform with Ray Vassalo and
another birder we had a frustrating couple of glimpses of a Lewin's in
the fine reeds (juncus?) 20m to the east.  The sun made the view through
binoculars very washed out but we saw the bird fly up into the reeds
from the water's edge, preen itself mostly hidden about 1m up on the
reeds, and work its way to the left.

A couple of minutes later another Lewin's appeared at the hole between
the two reed types opposite that platform, and worked its way very
slowly and cautiously along the bank all the way to the left.  This was
in very good light, and a few times it was right in the open.

So we still have at least two Lewin's Rails in there, and Spotless
Crakes were heard.  The way we saw them highlights the need to keep
scanning around even when you've just seen one.

In my opinion, at this water level, the southern platform is the place
to be to have the most chance of seeing a Lewin's.  They and Spotless
Crakes are occasionally being seen at the northern platform but I feel
that despite the excellent view you get when they do appear there, your
chances of seeing one are less.  Always worth a quick look there though,
and it might still be the best for Spotless Crakes.

>> 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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