Help with ID please

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Help with ID please
From: " Annabel" <>
Date: Fri, 5 Nov 2010 12:48:24 +1100
I was down near the Peel River this morning, about twenty kms upstream from Tamworth, when a heavy bodied bird flew low along the river past me.

It had to be either a bittern or an immature night heron.

It disappeared aroung a bend, so I didn't watch it for long, but I did get a pretty clear view of it. My impression was of a bird that was all over dull charcoal in colour. There were no obvious markings and definitely no striations as far as I could see. Size wise, I felt it was a bit bigger than a little black cormorant and much thicker in the body.

Any young night herons I've seen have been heavily striated. Are they ever without them? My feeling is that I've seen an Australasian Bittern, but I'd like to hear your comments.

The river has very heavy vegetation (includingreeds) all along it at the vicinity of the sighting. The banks are fairly high in the main, so the river is contained - ie although there's continual, thick shelter, there aren't any spread out swamps.

Cheers Annabel Ashworth

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