Re: birding-aus weird Pied Herons

Subject: Re: birding-aus weird Pied Herons
From: "Niven McCrie" <>
Date: Mon, 20 Sep 1999 22:14:23 +0930
I visited the Darwin sewage works this afternoon, minus my telescope 
and camera gear that were stolen from my car during the day, to look for 
the weird Pied Herons. The other day I'd noticed a few Pied Herons in 
rather drab plumage and assumed they were immature birds coming into 
adult plumage. I found them again and am fairly sure they are the ones 
Denise was referring to. They matched very closely her description 
except that I would say they weren't bigger than the other Pied Herons. 
A couple of them adopted a rather stiff-necked posture that made them 
look taller but there was nothing to suggest that they were indeed bigger 

A couple (there were at least six similarly plumaged birds spread around 
the various ponds) had brown and grey on the back and wings but 
generally the back and wings were grey; the bellies were fairly patchy 
dark grey - black; the necks were dirty white with a few showing patches 
of buff or brown (it's common at the moment to see the white parts of 
water birds showing this colour - I presume it to be staining ?from 
brownish water). Crowns were grey, variably patchy, and at least one 
had dark plumes as in the adults. All had white on the bend of the wing, 
with one or two showing more white, ie, more like a patch than a line, but 
still seemed within the 'normal' amount of white for immature Pied Heron.
The legs and bills (colour, size) were typical of Pied Heron as was the eye 
My conclusion was still as it was the other day, that the birds were 
immature Pied Herons, if a little scraggy looking, though perhaps this is 
pretty typical of the moult from immature to adult plumage.

The identity of the other heron(s) - I'm unsure if it was confirmed that 
there was more than one bird - that Denise mentioned hasn't been 
resolved and may never be. They may have been around before, but my 
first observations were at the Darwin sewage works in 1985, with fairly 
regular observations until 1987, then again at Palmerston sewage works 
in June 1990. They were reported from Fogg Dam in April 1989. Despite 
having been around for quite some time, and observed by many people, 
relatively little effort was made to pin down their identity and I suspect 
that they may have been (ab)normal Pied Herons. A few photographs 
were taken (I have some tucked away somewhere) but none that I saw 
was very good. I may try to find my photos, and if so will post them on 
my website, but don't hold your breath because my photo collection is all 
over the place.

Happy heroning
PS Little Curlews, Oriental Plovers and a few other waders have recently 
arrived and the Flock Bronzewing was at the sewage works on Saturday.

P.O. Box 41382
Casuarina 0811 NT
Ph. 62 8 89451130

To unsubscribe from this list, please send a message to

Include ONLY "unsubscribe birding-aus" in the message body (without the

<Prev in Thread] Current Thread [Next in Thread>

The University of NSW School of Computer and Engineering takes no responsibility for the contents of this archive. It is purely a compilation of material sent by many people to the birding-aus mailing list. It has not been checked for accuracy nor its content verified in any way. If you wish to get material removed from the archive or have other queries about the archive e-mail Andrew Taylor at this address: andrewt@cse.unsw.EDU.AU