Marsh Crake

The marsh crake is also known as koitareke and Ballions Crake.

When we spotted it we were hiding in a mimi on the edge of Lake Dunstan photographing birds out on the water. However, beneath our noses on the mudflat a baby weka ran out of the weeds. There was a flurry of shutter-clicking and very soon the little budgie was hidden in the reeds again.

That was a very exciting moment!

We had to search the Internet to get any idea what it was. We eventually determined that it was a marsh crake, but we were unsure about its rarity and whether we should contact someone about it. Birding does not have a high profile in Cromwell. As a fallback plan we decided to create this website and put our pictures online.

At this time of year (Jan/Feb 2012) Lake Dunstan had been lowered about 1m as part of a weed control program. Consequently, the wee mud flat in front of the mimi is normally covered in water - we were very lucky to be in the right place at the right time to get our photos!  As a guide, the crake was about the size of a skylark.