Spotting more Spotless Crakes
Suddenly the Spotless Crakes (Porzana tabuensis) have become easier to find than White-browed Crakes, although probably outnumbered about 20 to one. It's perhaps because the water level has dropped markedly and provided reasonably solid footing around the margins of the scleria islands. The Spotless lacks the very long toes of the White-browed.
Totally unexpected drop-in yesterday in the channel close to the crakes' playground, a Red-backed Buttonquail (Turnix maculosus). Sorry about the rear view, but the bird splashed down, looked about as if bewildered to be sinking, and shot up and away. The species in past years turned up to feed in scruffy areas of mixed weeds. Drenched in weedicides and turned to grass, the areas now support wallabies - and ever more mowing! Don't know how long the buttonquail will stick around amid the monocultures of reeds and scleria.