Little Grassbird Wading

On Sunday 6th February 1994 after the Wellard wetland RAOU outing, Brenda Newbey and I visited Lake Cooloongup in Rockingham.  We parked at the picnic area at the northern end, and walked to the left along the edge of the lake to the north east corner where the reeds are close to the water.

There were several thousand ducks (Pacific Black Duck, Grey Teal and Australian Shelduck), about 200 Banded Stilt, some Red-necked Avocet and other expected saltwater habitat waterbirds.

There were several hundred waders (mainly Red-necked Stint and Red-capped Plover, plus Curlew Sandpiper and Common Greenshank).  Brenda noticed a bird about 20m away amongst some of the waders in a small (about 4m by 2m), very shallow (5cm at most) wet area close (about 2m) to the reeds.  It took a bit of convincing because of its behaviour, but it was unmistakably a Little Grassbird.  We saw another very close by, and a third a fair distance away near three Spotless Crakes and a Baillon's Crake.

I have never seen a Little Grassbird out in the open on the ground before.  Not only that, but it was foraging almost exactly like the waders that it was with, except that once it was on top of a small stromatalite in the pool.  When alarmed, the waders flew out towards the lake, but the Little Grassbird flew the couple of metres into the edge of the reeds.  It reappeared quite soon each time.  We also noticed that some times it used its feet to splash the water or to 'stamp on' the mud as though to disturb prey.

Copyright Frank O'Connor 1997-2002 Visits Last Modified 31st January 2002