birding-aus Little versus Yellow Bittern

Subject: birding-aus Little versus Yellow Bittern
Date: Wed, 31 Mar 1999 08:03:19 +1000
>Date: Mon, 29 Mar 1999 09:54:21 +1000
>To: birding-aus
>Subject: Little versus Yellow Bittern
>A week ago whilst a number of us went with Lloyd Nielsen in search of
Buff-breasted Button-Quail at Wondecla, I happened to enquire as to the
difference between Little and Yellow Bitterns. This was a result of a visit
to the Cairns Croc Farm the week before and I saw two birds fly up out of
the reeds that looked very pale and showed no dark markings on the wing at
all - I wondered then just what was the difference between the two species.
>On Saturday 27 March 7 of us including Lloyd went to the croc farm armed
with step ladders for a more elevated view over the reed beds and 5
different guides to try to see if we could confirm one way or the other if
the two species might possibly be there together.
>We stood for 3 hours and watched more than 12 single flights from one part
of the reeds to another - some were long flights and we had some clear
views of both male and female Littles - or so we thought.
>I saw one bird from the top of the steps I was on and it was sitting in
the reeds and did the typical Bittern pose of stretching its neck. I did
not see any dark feathering on the mid stripe down the chest and the other
stripes down the chest were very pale yellow-brown. The books seem to
indicate that both male and female Littles have dark feathers in this
central stripe and we felt that the birds might possible be immatures.
There are few descriptions of these in the various texts so we left still
>We felt we saw 4 and possibly more birds over the three hours and it was
quite hot and sunny at the time so the birds are very active even in those
>If anyone is planning a visit up North over Easter then give the central
reed bed a thorough going over as I'm sure you will see the birds with a
little patience.
>The people at reception can direct you to the right pen.
>Max O'Sullivan  

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