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Spotted Crake | by aaardvaark
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Spotted Crake

This was unexpected! Walking just after daybreak, I jumped the fence of our small reserve and walked up to a nearby rise on the farmer's land. Most of the farmland was stubble except for a bunch of trees and scrub on the top of this small hill. The landscape is bare and dry and there was no water anywhere around. As I wandered into the copse at the top of the hill, a little dry forest of fences and trees, spied a bird on the ground, froze, peered at it and couldn't believe my eyes - an Australian Spotted Crake foraging peacefully amongst leaf litter. Crakes are normally found (I thought ONLY found) in swamps and wetlands, furtively amongst the reeds. This one was sticking close by the remains of a chicken-wire fence to thwart the harassing miners, and paying no apparent attention to the miners or to me. In the end it came within three metres before I couldn't keep such an uncomfortable position any longer and had to move in a big way -- at which it walked off without great urgency but as though it had not earlier noticed me.

 

I'd never have expected a crake in this location, but notice that Pizzey says "often far from water". Indeed.

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Taken on September 30, 2015