Tag Archives: Spotted Crake

A bold Crake

Spotted Crakes are often seen skulking around the muddy edges of wetlands usually very close to cover so a quick dash can get them back under cover and invisible again. I saw this particular Crake late one sunny afternoon at the small lagoon near the bird hide along the coast at the Treatment plant. He was walking quite boldly across the lagoon to the other side. Though as the sun dipped a bit he made the sudden dash back to the other side and straight back into cover.

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

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Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

A quick look round and straight at me…

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

…reached the other side for a peek around the salt-bush…

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee, Vic

…and a mad dash back again – the next few seconds later he actually took off in a low flight..

Spotlight on the Spotless Crake

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

Spotless Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Spotless Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Spotless Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

a skulking Spotless Crake

Spotless Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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The Crake Pit,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Part of the Crake Pit, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Spotted and Spotless Crakes,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Spotted and Spotless Crakes – the Spotted moved around and behind the Spotted, who did not seem to notice

Spotted and Spotless Crakes,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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…

The Crake Pit, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

The Crake Pit, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

The Pooh Farm Crake Pit

At the Western Treatment Plant and lagoons there is a spot within the T-Section informally called “the Crake Pit“. It is fantastic location for photographing small skulking species of birds that are not often seen – even by avid Birders. It is home to Crakes and Rails. So far at this location I have managed to photograph Baillon’s Crake, the Australian Spotted Crake (also called the Australian Crake or Water Crake) and the Spotless Crake. Also found in this spot are Buff-banded and Lewin’s Rails. Over a series of early morning visits, we managed to spend a few hours each time just sitting and waiting to see what would pop out into the sunlight and starting feeding on the many insects in the water and along the reed beds. It was a very different experience to actually stay in the one spot and wait rather than constantly move around the huge treatment plant lagoons looking for the many species of birds that live and feed here…it felt like a guilty pleasure to just sit and wait (yes, for a birder just sitting still in the middle of a sewerage plant and watching settling/filtering lagoons is a guilty pleasure….)

The photos below are of the Australian Crake also called the Australian Spotted Crake (Porzana fluminea) – Porzana is the Italian (Venetian) name for smaller crakes, and fluminea is Latin for ‘frequenting rivers’. 

Australian Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Australian Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

The Crake Pit,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

The Crake Pit, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

The Crake Pit,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Australian Spotted Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Australian Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Australian Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Australian Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Australian Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

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Western Treatment Plant, Werribee (aka the “Pooh Farm”)

The pooh farm is one of the best birding sites in Victoria and arguably in Australia  – it is only 35 mins away for me and I go as often as I can (20+ times so far this year). I hardly get less than 65 birds and as high as 88 in one day. The good birders get over 100 in a day. To get access to all birding areas you need 2 permits and a key supplied by Melbourne Water.

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee - 19 Nov 2014

Brown Falcon, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee – 19 Nov 2014

Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 19 Dec, 2014

Golden Headed Cisticola, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 19 Dec, 2014

Yellow Billed Spoonbills, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 5 Nov, 2014

Yellow Billed Spoonbills, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 5 Nov, 2014

Striated Fieldwren, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 29 May, 2014

Striated Fieldwren, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 29 May, 2014

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 22 Aug, 2014

Spotted Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 22 Aug, 2014

Blue Winged Parrots, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria - 22 Aug, 2014

Blue Winged Parrots, Western Treatment Plant, Weribee, Victoria – 22 Aug, 2014

Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee - 19 Nov 2014

Sharp Tailed Sandpiper, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee – 19 Nov 2014