Warning: the following is a shameless attempt to get birders to come
to Hamilton to spend money (fuel, accommodation and food) and see some
Yesterday I mentioned the Little Bittern at Lake Hamilton (sw
Victoria). I thought I'd give a bit more info about this lake and the
crakes and rails currently to be seen there.
Lake Hamilton is an artificial impoundment of the Grange Burn on the
outskirts of Hamilton in SW Victoria. It was created in 1977 and is
about 40 ha in area. It is open to various water sports inc. speed
boats but has areas of dense phragmites reeds around much of its
edge. The eastern, inflow end in particular is largely boat-free and
and has some extensive areas of reeds.
We local birders have probably not payed it the attention it deserves
but that has changed recently due to the number and variety of crakes
and rails being reported. Spotless Crakes have been regularly
recorded since 2001. Recently however, due to drought, more regular
attention or planetary alignment we have been able to record all the
crakes and rails recorded in Victoria (except Black-tailed Native-hen
to my knowledge). My records indicate Spotted Crake from 2003, Buff-
banded Rail from 2006, Lewin's Rail from 2006.
In the last few months local birders have recorded all three crakes
and both rails. Last evening, while waiting for the Little Bittern to
call (it started at 8:45 pm) a group of local and visiting birders saw
Baillon's Crakes (immature and adult), Lewins Rail (one immature),
Spotted Crake (one adult), Spotless Crake (one probable). This is in
addition to Buff-banded Rail seen in the past two weeks. Most have
been out in the open and easy to identify and photograph. A bonus was
the sighting of several water-rats or Rakali.
Add to this three Cormorant species, close-up views of Musk Ducks
doing their Bunyip thing, more Reed Warblers per square meter of reeds
than anywhere else I've seen, both Spoonbills, Great Egret, a pair of
Black-fronted Dotterels, occasional Latham's Snipe, a Hobby and the
Most dogs are on leads - how good is that?
So, forget about strange Gulls, Hudwits and Dowitchers. Come and
visit the sw of Victoria and tick off all the possible Rallidae (even
Black-tailed Native-hens are visiting Hamilton at the moment). While
in the area check out some of the places I recommend in my web site
for more great birding and let me know what you have seen.
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