Hullo Niven and others
I've just paid a short visit to the Leanyer sewage ponds and immature
Pied Herons, presumably those you referred to in your last email. They
are not the birds I saw on Sunday. Let me clarify a few points; I know
that immature Pied Herons have darker legs (and beak) and white on the
wing, and I would have discounted the birds I saw as immatures of this
species except for the following points. The original two birds were
larger than the Pied Herons nearby (in fact). There wasn't a huge
difference but it was noticeable in both body and leg length and overall
The original birds were clean, not muddy or stained, and they weren't
moulting unlike the young Pied Herons nearby. The upper legs appeared
black, the lower leg mostly dark with a yellow tinge in one bird,
olive-green in the other, and were longer than those of the other birds.
The back and wings and cap were darker than those of the immature birds
presently at the pond.
Incidentally there are now Little Curlews feeding on the drained pond
farthest from the road along with Sharp-tailed Sandpiper, Red-necked
Stint and Curlew Sandpiper. Unfortunately, because the sludge is being
removed from this pond trucks and a bulldozer had cut off access to that
and the next pond, it was not possible to do more than a quick search
from one corner. Numerous other birds including Pallid Cuckoo, Little
Bronze-cuckoo, and a Welcome Swallow which obligingly sat on a nearby
pipe while we had a good look at it. Whiskered Terns are coming into
breeding plumage and look very smart.
To anyone who's interested in some Aboriginal information, little brown
wading birds have a generic name in Kuninjku, Kolarawikwik. Pied Heron
is known as Nogadjog.
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