WARNING – bird name issue.
An appropriate message, Peter, and I agree about Shorty’s pic. I don’t know how he does it.
This species carries a big name problem. A usual short form is ‘Little Bittern’. That will do me, although it is questionable on taxonomic grounds. ‘Least Bittern’ belongs to an American species.
The Birdlife Australia name is ‘Australian Little Bittern’. The COG list also gives ‘Australian Little Bittern’ but incorrectly applies it to ‘I. minutus’, the former species, pre-split. Shorty originally headed his reports ‘Black-backed aka Australian
Little Bittern’. ‘Black-backed Bittern’ is the first name give in Fraser and Gray, who follow IOC terminology, as do bird groups in SA and Queensland. Enough from me.
From: Canberrabirds <>
On Behalf Of Peter Miller
Sent: Saturday, February 3, 2024 8:36 AM
Subject: [Canberrabirds] World Wetlands Day: preserve Toondah Wetlands
Apologies to those who don't like politics/action-please ignore this email.
I was inspired by Shorty's email with his beautiful photo (I thought) of the Least Bittern and it being World Wetlands Day.
As many of you know, there is a proposed development for Moreton Bay, which will have significant impacts on the Ramsar listed Toondah wetlands. See:
Below is what I wrote to Ms Plibersek, who I understand has the final decision on whether the proposed development will go ahead.
If you have time and inclination, visit the website, write to Ms. Plibersek, your local MP, share with family and friends.
Dear Ms. Plibersek,
I am writing to you once again to urge to you to act decisively and protect the Ramsar Toondah Wetlands from any future development such as is currently being proposed.
This being world wetlands day, it seems salient to draw your attention to a number of statistics and facts of which I'm sure you are well aware but it doesn't hurt to revisit:
Australia was the first country in the world to sign the RAMSAR convention, back in 1971.
Since that time, wetlands have declined internationally by an estimated 35%.
Migratory shorebirds themselves have declined by 72%!
As the first signatory to this convention, and in light of the catastrophic collapse of migratory shorebirds that we are witnessing, to pretend that the proposed development constitutes the "wise use" of the wetlands would make a mockery of Australia's commitments
to protecting our and our children's future.
I know you must be incredibly busy, but if you do get the opportunity, I urge you to visit somewhere on the coast where you can see the magnificent Far Eastern Curlew. I was lucky enough to see a small group of them while holidaying at Wallaga Lake on the
far south coast and was reminded at just how truly majestic and magnificent these creatures are. You don't need to travel that far, ebird shows many sightings at the Northern end of Royal National Park. There is a short walk which perhaps you could treat yourself
Even if you are not able to see the birds yourself, I look forward to the announcement of the government's position that Ramsar Toondah Wetlands will remain protected for perpetuity.
Drawing a Line in the Mud, Birdlife Australia, March 2020,
https://static1.squarespace.com/static/5a68facad7bdce5b6d9410a2/t/5ec33e222316c843788ce794/1589853747540/ABMar20+Line+in+the+Mud.pdf, accessed 2/2/2024
National Wetland Policies Australia,
The Conversation, Dec 3, 2019,