Tag Archives: T-Section

Baillon’s Crake’s migration mystery

The only place I have regularly seen the Baillon’s Crake:adults and juveniles, is at the Crake Pit at the Western Treatment Plant. According to HANZAB (Handbook of Australian New Zealand Antarctic Birds) it is probably migratory but as it does not call in Winter it is hard to know for sure…however considering how many people are currently visiting the crake pit to look for and photograph the Lewin’s Rail it surely would be seen quite often. On our numerous trips over Summer and Autumn we saw quite a few Baillon’s and they did not appear to be overly shy, often coming right out from under cover. Given the lack of reporting lately I would guess that it does migrate to Northern Australian. It is a very small bird with long olive legs and large feet to help it move across the sodden vegetation.  It has small wings so a long flight north is an amazing feat of endurance.

Baillon’s Crake’s formal name is Porazana pusilla (Porzana:Italian dialect for ‘smaller crake’ and pusilla meaning ‘very small’ or ‘paltry’. It has also been called Lesser Spotted Crake, Tiny, Little, Little Water and Marsh Crake. 

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crake,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon’s Crake, Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Baillon's Crakes,  Western Treatment Plant, Victoria

Sun-baking and preening at a midday roost…

A Growling Grass Frog

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

Growling Grass Frog, Western Treatment Plant, Werribee