Backyard Bittern!

Subject: Backyard Bittern!
Date: Sun, 01 Jul 2001 19:53:57 +1200
Sorry - couldn't resist that subject line ... but it was almost in my 

An Australasian Bittern was reported to me yesterday by a friend who lives 
nearby (some of you may know Don Greaves and that he has been recording birds 
in this spot for over 25 years).  This morning we went out twice and found it  
- miraculously - BOTH times!

I don't know how many records there are of Aust Bittern around Geelong (Vic) 
but this was the first we know of for this part of Corio, and particularly, the 
first ever around the Geelong Grammar campus.

Today the bittern was near a narrow drain or soak running across the big block 
of grassland between Shell Parade and the old Corio tip.  Can anyone suggest 
why it might be here at this time of year, and whether or not it is likely to 
stick around?

It is worth noting that this block was routinely burnt each year by the Country 
Fire Authority as part of its fire prevention program.  A couple of years ago 
some rare native grasses were discovered on the block and so it is now 
protected.  The vegetation has grown up to about a meter high in places, and 
obviously this suits the bittern. 

What a great start to the July 1 count!  Other nice species around GGS today 
were a couple of Flame Robins, a Peregrine, Royal Spoonbills, both Little and 
Great Egret, and up to several hundred Hoary Headed Grebes on Limeburners 

Russell Woodford

Russell Woodford
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