Little Bitterns at Acacia Inlet

To: "Canberra Birds" <>
Subject: Little Bitterns at Acacia Inlet
From: Julian Robinson <>
Date: Thu, 07 Feb 2008 22:41:54 +1100
My heartfelt thanks to those who have reported on the discovery and location of the Little B's here so fully. After some false alarms and then moderate success finally seeing the male a few days ago, I decided to hit the lake this morning after waking too early. I paddled towards the pool between the reeds and the fisherman's path looking for the youngster, and to my absolute astonishment was treated to 2 hours observation of an apparently little concerned immature Little Bittern only metres away. I enjoyed the luxury of sitting in comfortable kayak, observing the rather attractive critter perching, foraging, hunting at the water's edge, preening, and travelling inside the shrubbery (in itself amazing to watch, I give it a considerably greater degree of difficulty than walking on water). It did a pretty poor job of camouflage -- once when I sneezed and once for some other reason I couldn't detect - a quick neck stretch up, then back to business. Most of this was in full sun, with the sun behind me, so photography was perfect. (Apart from the fact that some of the best views were when it was too close for my lens to focus - again).

It also called during most of the time, a pleasant chirrup a bit like a cat's friendliest vocalisation, the brrbrrbrr one, half meow, half purr. At one stage I left it for half an hour to give it and me a rest - when I returned I could hear it still calling quietly and it was still in the same location as when I left.

I don't know about the parents, but this youngster does not appear to be phased by the attention at all. I would have left much more quickly if it had looked bothered, and although I can't read its mind I'm pretty certain that no undue stress was involved. Mostly by the fact that it approached me as much as it did, and it was certainly relaxed enough to preen, stretch, forage and do other optional things that I doubt it would do if worried or stressed.

I suppose I won't ever get such an opportunity again, so I'm thankful for the literally hundreds of photos I have yet to go through. One attached shows when it came down from it's most attractive perch up amongst the purple flowers, to do some waterside hunting. I'll send a couple for the Gallery and put some on flickr when I can.

I did see one of the adults flying south to north at one stage.


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