Yesterday, when attending the Robertson Garden Club meeting, I noticed as I walked from my car to the centre, that there was a Lewin's Rail (Lewinia pectoralis) browsing around the edge of these Lomandra plants. I have not previously seen these birds in Robertson, but it is not exactly surprising. They are a secretive wading bird - they love to hunt for insects in and around reeds and rushes, near wetlands. As I was going to the Garden Club meeting, I did not have my camera with me, unfortunately.
Photo courtesy of Melbourne Water website.
The point of this story is a bit like the American Baseball movie "Field of Dreams". I saw that movie, years ago, and the only line I remember is this: "If you build it, he will come". Well, REPS have built an environment, and now the Lewin's Rail has come to the middle of Robertson.
As I was saying before, I have not seen these birds here before, but I have previously seen a related bird, the Buff-banded Rail, out on McGuinness Drive, and I have recorded Snipe at several local swamps. Of course, the Wingecarribee Swamp is a mere 3 Kms away, downstream from the bridge over the Caalang Creek, and there is another swamp on Caalang Creek, higher up in the centre of the village, at the end of Main Street. There is an excellent wet swamp on private land on Tourist Road. So, it is not an unusual record, but it is worth noting.
More to the point, it will give heart to the REPS volunteers that the birds are taking notice of their creekside habitat regeneration work. Where previously there were weeds, Blackberries and some willows, now there is a creek bank with Lomandras and Tea-Tree Shrubs and now the Lewin's Rail.