Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Tuesday, January 09, 2007

Buff-banded Rail - on McGuinness Drive

This afternoon, I visited Wollongong (ooh, it is stinky to my nose, so used to the pure highland air!). Anyway, I escaped back up Macquarie Pass. As I drove through Albion Park, I saw my friend Dave, and we drove back up the pass in tandem.

As Dave lives on McGuinness Drive (just at the top of the Pass) I called in and had a cuppa with Pip and Dave, and their kids Steele and Malaika. Pip is pregnant, and I had not seen her in a while.

They seem to be keeping well, out there at Mt Murray. Pip had taken the kids swimming at Minnamurra River. She reported that the water was very cold - which confirms something I had heard on the radio in the last few days.

As I recall, warm currents do come down the coast - but not until late January (about the time the kids go back to school).
Photo: L. Hansch
COG Website
Anyway, as I left McGuinness Drive I noticed a bird walking along the edge of the road, just opposite the last property on the right, where there are two ponds. I stopped in time to see this bird wiggle itself into the cover provided by some long grass and rush-like plants in an informal gutter which clearly is wet much of the time (judging by the way the plants were growing).

Anyway, I had a good enough look to realise that this bird was a Buff-banded Rail (Gallirallus philippensis). This is a shy, skulking bird which normally hangs out on the edge of ponds, in rushes and reeds. Of course, with two ponds, with rushes and reeds in the ponds just opposite, this was a pretty good habitat for this bird. But it is the first time I had ever seen this species in Robertson.

According to the Canberra Ornithologists Group website, it is classed as an uncommon summer "breeding" migrant (which means it breeds in Australia), unlike some summer migrants, such as the Latham's Snipe, which breeds in Japan and comes here in its non-breeding season, (the northern winter, which is our summer).

1 comment: