Sunday, January 15, 2012

There's a Rail In The Garden!

G’day www People,
The number of sightings reported this season of birds we don’t normally see too many of, is a good indicator of how different the weather has been for the last several months. Farmers dams are full, lagoons are brimming, even golf courses are green, yey!

I have quite regularly spotted White-necked and Nankeen Night Herons, Great Egrets and Buff-banded Rails around the dams and waterholes in the district but I was chuffed to have a rail run across the driveway at home here a few days back. We have a small garden dam in the front yard that catches water tank overflow and grey water from the house, and the Buff-banded Rail dashed from a garden on one side of the driveway into the dam paddock.


Over the ensuing days I ‘monitored’ things for a bit and discovered there was a pair. I’d seen a rail or two on the golf course next door and assumed ‘my’ pair were occasional visitors from the course.

The garden birds seemed to be present too consistently to be visitors and then I noticed they were getting grubs and insects from the mulch in the garden and returning to the dam paddock with beaks full. Could it be? Some more intensive monitoring was required.


Eventually I caught a glimpse of two small black balls of fluff dash across the driveway with dad ahead and mum behind. Too quick for my camera work – I have lots of close up shots of the gravel in my driveway if anyone would like to see?

Late one evening, I sprung the family a little further away from the dam than usual. Instead of dashing across, they ‘went to ground’ in the garden and it became a matter of waiting for them to break cover. As time passed, the light began to fade dramatically and I was struggling to get an image on the camera without using the flash. This was the best I could do and I’ve decided to leave them alone for a bit now.

Nice to have them so close to home, I’ve been entertained for hours without having to drive anywhere.


  1. That's great fun Gouldiae - lovely story.

  2. I think we've all got plenty of photos of where the bird was only a split second before!

    Well done on managing to get a shot of the chick. They're elusive little critters. Hope the family makes more appearances for you.

  3. Hey Barbara,
    Welcome back - safe trip home? Loved the WDucks story.

    Thanks Bronwen,
    Yep, the driveway stone pics will go into the folder with the empty branch pics etc.


  4. Rails can become surprisingly confiding very quickly. Maybe they'll adopt you. Be lucky!

  5. Lovely to see the photos and read the story. We have a pair of buff-banded rails and 4! chicks. Like yours they dashed between the orchard in front of the house and the nearby paddock with the dam in it. This is the first time in 21 years at Balook we have ever seen them.

    David and Pam Pattison