Little Bitterns

Subject: Little Bitterns
Date: Mon, 30 Nov 1998 08:38:17 +1000
Yesterday (29/11/98) at the Cairns Crocodile Farm I observed 4 Little
Bitterns - one for over 20 minutes at less than 5 metres - a female with a
clear dark chest marking with rufous cap and dark rump. There were two
other birds about 10 m away with similar markings but nowhere near as
obvious - the vertical chest stripe was not at all clear. These birds were
sitting on top of the reeds after a very heavy shower and were preening. At
the other end of the enclosure, I saw another bird fly and land close to
the fence - it turned out to be a male bird with very dark wings and rump
and a dark cap as well as a very rufous face. I only saw this bird for a
few minutes before it disappeared down into the reeds.
I would like to think these birds had bred at the croc farm. It was
certainly good to see 4 as a first sighting of this rather elusive species.
Max O'Sullivan

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