Little Bittern - Walka Water Works Maitland

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Subject: Little Bittern - Walka Water Works Maitland
From: "Lynn Jenkin" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Jan 2003 20:48:10 +1100
Hi  All
After nearly stepping on a Red-bellied Black Snake and whilst the adrenaline was still rushing, I got a very quick glimpse of what I believe could only have been a Little Bittern. It "melted" ever so effectively into the reeds and despite an hour of waiting and watching was not seen again. The spot I saw it was if you walk around clockwise and go past the ramp where people launch model boats etc and head to the first seat under a tree just before Stan Parkes Memorial Grove, then back track to the first little inlet and look across into the reed bed. I saw a buff-yellow neck and wing , dark cap and yellow bill. The bird had an upright stance and colouring as in the Male depicted in Slaters. It didn't freeze but oozed into the background. My only doubts are from looking at Pizzey & Knight and also my Readers Digest Video of 101 Australian Birds and the Little Bitterns look totally different in colour and stance. I would not have described this bird as dumpy. If anyone has any thoughts or is able to get and confirm my I.D. would be much appreciated. I can't see what other bird it could have been.
Whilst waiting for it to reappear a Baillons Crake was patrolling the mud between the reeds.
Other birds of note at Walka
Pink-eared Ducks  300-400
Great Crested Grebes x10
Hoary-headed Grebes x 2
Musk Duck x2
Latham's Snipe  x 2 
Also dropped into Bolwarra Wetland Reserve for the first time today, not a bad spot. Saw two male Koels together in a Wattle Tree and another one calling in the distance. Around the waters edges were
Sharp-tailed Sandpipers x 2
Latham's Snipe              x 1
Buff-banded Rail             x1
Red-kneed Dotterel         x 2
Also 14 Australasian Grebes as well as the common Ducks and Black winged Stilts and Black-fronted Dotterels.
Shortland Wetland Centre had 40 Glossy Ibis present ( including about 16 immatures amongst the adults), fabulous to look out with the sun shining off their backs.
Also 12 Australasian Shovellers and about 70 Sharp-tailed Sandpipers.
Ash Island turned up 2 Australian Spotted Crakes and a pair of Red-capped Plovers with 2 small chicks.
Dick Jenkin  
Dungog NSW
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