Yesterday DF and I had a small job to do in Maffra. We ended up at the Macalister Swamp Reserve right on the edge of town, one of D’s favourite wetland places.
He’d promised to show me Red-kneed Dotterels, Lathams Snipe, Nankeen Night Herons and Spotted Crakes. Duncan would make a good scent hound. When we arrived at the swamp, he walked me straight to each of those species in turn. It was as though he’d pre-arranged it somehow.
The beautiful little Red-knees were on the first mud patch, (which is shrinking dramatically in our present weather pattern). There was a party of seven and Duncan says he has counted a dozen recently, the most for this locality in many a year. We watched them for some time as they bobbed their heads and dashed about probing for muddy delights.
We sprung a couple of Snipe before the master spotted one sheltering from the heat in the shade of some reeds. It’s always nice to see these long distance travellers and I always marvel at how they apparently don’t get that enormously long bill stuck in the mud or tangled in the reeds.
Moving right on, a Nankeen Night Heron took off and sought undisturbed refuge elsewhere in the reed beds.
The next mud patch, right beside a popular walking track, was the favourite location for at least one pair of Spotted Crakes. We saw several of these nomadic waders indicating that again the good season has resulted in an increased population.
Well that was the end of Duncan’s list but he failed to include the Great Egrets, Reed Warblers, Little Grassbirds, Blue Wrens, Swamphens and Coots of course, various Ducks, Pelicans … and just around the next corner a lovely pair of Royal Spoonbills.
Nice one DF, a great little interlude in a busy day – thanks.