birding-aus Gone gone

To: Birding-aus <>
Subject: birding-aus Gone gone
From: Jill Dening <>
Date: Sun, 11 Jul 1999 06:57:09 +1000
Hi all,

An interesting little experience we had this morning to share with you.
This was at Beerwah, in the hinterland of the Sunshine Coast, Qld. It's
about a White-faced Heron (WFHE) looking for a feed.

Our house encloses, with three glassed walls, a garden (about 4m x 7m) with
a fish pond (about 2m x 1m). The fourth side is a block retaining wall,
above which is the balcony of the fourth side of the building.

We were in the loungeroom having a cuppa with a friend who had dropped by,
when we noticed the WFHE parading along the balcony floor, often looking
over into the interior garden. To come in under the roof of the building
required some bravado, which we have not seen here before. "He's eyeing off
the fish," we said in unison, "Let's see what happens."

The following took about an hour. During this time we sat almost
motionless, because the WFHE was very much aware of the trio in the
loungeroom, only 5m away. After a time it flew down into the garden, not so
easy for a large-winged bird in a tight area. It gradually moved forwards
to the fish pond, where it hopped onto the edge, and proceeded to catch and
devour, with practised accomplishment, all three of our goldfish. It wasn't
all that easy, because the fish have a shelter where they can escape
predators of this kind. But the bravery of the WFHE was noteworthy,
surrounded as it was on four sides by walls to the roofline. It was a risky

Because of the dense foliage (lomandra and palms) in the garden, our views
were not total, so I can't give you a blow by blow description - unless you
want to know about the fish squirming down the neck. I was reminded of A
Fish Called Wanda.

We weren't overly attached to the fish. After we installed them, we lost
our frogs. Then a friend suggested that this might be because the goldfish
eat the frogs' eggs, and that some native fish might be better if we want
to retain frogs. Any fish people out there to advise us on frog-friendly
species to replace the goldfish?

Not an earthshattering posting, but it was pretty gripping for the three of
us watching.


Jill Dening
Sunshine Coast, Qld

26º 51'         152º 56'

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