Possible Australasian Bittern at Pitt Town lagoon

To: "birding-aus" <>
Subject: Possible Australasian Bittern at Pitt Town lagoon
From: "Tom and Mandy Wilson" <>
Date: Fri, 29 Apr 2011 22:10:07 +1000
Hi all
I spent some time at Pitt Town Lagoon this morning. It's very full and the grass is very lush and some of the trees are flowering - quite a few birds about (57 species in just under 2 hours). Nothing spectacular except a possible Australasian Bittern, as noted below.

A large, dark brown heron like bird flew over the lagoon at about 9:45 this morning and landed somewhere on the golf course. (It did not start at the lagoon itself, but came from over Pitt Town, so I have no idea where it started.) The bird was dark brown and showed no discernible white at all (I got a distant side on view as it came in to land) which for me rules out either of the grey herons (White faced and Pacific). The bird was definitely not grey (not even dark grey), which probably also rules out Black Bittern, although I'll stand corrected on that if necessary. As it came to land, the rump appeared to be a paler shade of brown. Its flight was very slow and deliberate with deep wing beats, giving the flight an almost bouncy look, and the head was folded in.

When it landed, I think it ended up in the wetland in the middle of the golf course (ie not the one next to Pitt Town Bottoms Road but one with more extensive reed beds that is about 2 fairways over when looking from Pitt Town Bottoms Road). Anybody that has access to the golf course might check this area out?

Amongst the other species seen this morning at Pitt Town Lagoon were a pair Double Barred Finches, a Jacky Winter, a Hobby, 4 Hardhead and a flock of 22 White faced Heron flying over.

Tom Wilson

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