Finding Little Bitterns

To: Bill Watson <>
Subject: Finding Little Bitterns
From: Ricki Coughlan <>
Date: Sun, 31 Dec 2006 18:14:58 +1100

This is a joke, isn't it?

Ricki Coughlan

Belrose, Sydney

On 31/12/2006, at 12:37 PM, Bill Watson wrote:

Unless you have a Little Bittern staked, the best way to get one is through the call. They have a distinctive repeated-in-a-series croak. Go to the Cumbungi or suitable thick reeds or sedge, optimum time towards or at twilight, with a mate as determined or desperate as you are. When the two of you line up the call, take it in turns to walk loudly through the cumbungi while the mate waits up a tree or in another survey spot for the bird to flush and land again. Keep this up till you are satisfied.

This works anywhere that you have free access to the vegetation.

Little Bitterns are birdwatchers' birds. The way to get them, and a whole lot of other skulkers (and frogs and reptiles), is to frequent reedy swamps. But you increase your chances of getting mosquito-borne diseases. But only the bold deserve the fair; and workers deserve the big rewards.

If you have limited time and/or locality, they are a bird to follow up through sightings reported on this web. Since they don't appear much, you can see why I regard them as birdwatchers' birds. That the sightings are often in cities indicates that they are likely to be in a lot of areas less frequented by birdwatchers.

If you really have to get the bird, I know/knew two birders who are/ were dab hands at finding them. Phil Maher is the one who is still alive. The other one took a remarkable set of notes and photos when he found them nesting on a small pond on his dairy farm. Those records, with all his others, went for record-keeping to a RAOU man.

Bill Watson.

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