Backyard Bittern!

Subject: Backyard Bittern!
From: Margaret Cameron <>
Date: Mon, 02 Jul 2001 15:54:44 +1000
Not wishing to sound smug, but....... (well why not?)

Friday wader count at Moolap saltworks (Geelong) - I flushed a bittern which was standing in sparse flooded weeds in one of Alcoa's sewage ponds at Point Henry. Surely only a juvenile would stand in such a dopey place.

Saturday wader count at Hospital Lake (Geelong) - Baensch's Lane (referred to earlier this year (by Tim Dolby I think) as "Crake Paradise") - too deep for crakes now but we flushed a bittern

Saturday wader count at Reedy Lake (Geelong) - Margaret and Richard Alcorn walked from Melaluke Road to Moolap station Road and saw several bitterns. A good reward for a long wet waderless walk.

(Just as well we saw these interesting birds as there were almost no waders anywhere.)

Reedy Lake in particular is pretty reliable for bitterns all year round though in summer you usually have to wade. In winter they are quite often seen in stupid places - I remember seeing three together in a small lignum clump in which they were far from cryptic. Stephen Davies' theory was that these were young birds dispersing.

thank you Russell for birdwatching on July 1, yours may be the only bittern as we had a bittern-free day on the Sunday wader count, but did see 2 Orange-bellied parrots.


At 07:53 PM 1/07/01 +1200,  wrote:
Sorry - couldn't resist that subject line ... but it was almost in my backyard...

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 Lagoon.

Russell Woodford

Russell Woodford
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Margaret Cameron        

4 Connor Street
East Geelong, Vic. 3219

Phone   61 3 5229 9792
Fax             61 3 5229 1520
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