The Western Treatment Plant’s Crake Pit has been quite active with a number of crake species taking up residence over the Summer, through Autumn and on into the Winter. A few seem to have even bred and had chicks in the Pit. When visiting I have seen quite a few Spotted Crakes and Baillon’s Crakes but not too many Spotless Crakes. We were quite pleased to see one slowly poke its head through the reeds and then come out to feed. It even had an altercation with an aggressive Spotted Crake.
The Spotless Crake has a few names: formally Porzana tabuensis – Porzana is the Italian (Venetian) name for smaller crake, and Tabuensis after the location of the first Spotless Crake described – Tongapatu, Kingdom of Tonga. Informally the crake has been called Leaden Crake, Spotless Water Crake, Little Swamphen, Swamp Rail and the Motor-car Bird – after one of the revving sounds it makes.
Spotless Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria
a skulking Spotless Crake
Part of the Crake Pit, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria
Spotted and Spotless Crakes – the Spotted moved around and behind the Spotted, who did not seem to notice
But once the Spotless started to glean insects from around the feet of the Spotted, the Spotted finally noticed it and exploded and attacked the bigger Spotless…
On a visit to the Western Treatment Plant we stopped at the Crake pit in T-Section which due to intermittent rain has maintained a water level that is perfect for several species of Crake. Along with watching and photographing the crakes we heard a Growling Grass Frog – a frog becoming more rare and endangered in many areas of Southern Australia including Victoria. It is also called the Southern Bell Frog and rather unkindly: the Warty Swamp Frog. I quite like the name Growling Grass Frog. It has a deep drawn out call and you assume it is a larger frog but when seen it not very big at all. Recently I started to record sounds of various birds and pretty much anything else I could get close to. I have found that there are very few areas that don’t have man-made noise pollution in the background – freeways near wetlands, boats along the coast, distant chainsaws and trail bikes far out in the forests. Luckily in this case the background sounds were two rather melodic birds: the Australian Reed Warbler and a Little Grassbird.
Click on the play button to hear the Growling Grass Frog
Growling Grass Frog, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee