Christmas Bells

Christmas Bells
Christmas Bells - Blandfordia nobilis

Thursday, November 20, 2008

Water loving birds in Robertson

There is a small creek, Caalang Creek, which runs through the centre of the village of Robertson.
It is not very accessible, because the houses approach the creek, and one needs to find a laneway, or an undeveloped block of land, from which to approach the creek.

In one area, there is an old dam which was created by one of the old landholders, back in the day when potatoes were still being grown close to the village. The dam is now surrounded by houses, not potato farms. This is very good for the local birds, some of which have trained the local residents to give them the occasional feed. Other birds are just getting on with their natural lives in this reasonably natural environment.

I was sent an email a few days ago by Sandy, a friend who knows I am a keen birdwatcher, to report that she had seen a pair of Buff-banded Rails (Gallirallus philippensis), and some chicks, in the thick Lomandra vegetation beside the creek. Naturally I could not resist following up this lead.I did not see the chicks, but, as soon as I turned up, I saw a pair of rails chasing eachother around on the grassy edge of the reserve. Of course, they scarpered when they saw me coming, but eventually, after about half an hour, one of them came back out into the open (just). That at least allowed me to get one clearly identifiable shot.I returned the next day (today), and while I did not see the rails, I saw lots of other water birds. One which surprised me was a Sacred Kingfisher (Todiramphus sanctus). The surprise was not because I saw it, but because it was behaving like a conventional Kingfisher - hanging out near the dam - which they do not often do). A pair of Little (Australasian) Grebes (Tachybaptus novaehollandiae) were very busy building their nest - a typical floating raft of reeds and other water plants.This shows a Grebe carrying some water weed with which to build the nest. Please forgive the low quality photo, but it was a distant shot, across the dam. But the activity is interesting to observe.And three Domestic Geese "sailed" across the pond when they saw me. Clearly they were coming across for their daily feed. I left without feeding them.


mick said...

Great sighting and photo of the rail. It sounds like a good spot to see water birds.

Duncan said...

Good going to get any of the crakes or rails Denis, they can be very wary. Funny, I had a similar experience with a Sacred Kingfisher at Peach Flat the other day, it flew down, snatched something at the water surface and went up to a perch to eat. Behaved more like an azure.

Mosura said...

I don't think my eyes would have detected that grebe nest.

Looks like a nice spot. I tried having a look with google street view from the end of Devonshire Road but there are too many trees in the way.

Denis Wilson said...

Hi Mosura.
I have just made the upgrade to Broadband, but I have never tried Google Street View. But congratulations - you had the correct street.
I shall have to be careful not to give my address away - all you will see is weeds!

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