Yellow Bittern hysteria

Subject: Yellow Bittern hysteria
Date: Sat, 12 Jul 2014 10:13:36 +1000
Following Sandra Gallienne's claim, based on a 'reliable witness',
there is beginning something like a witch hunt, with calls for naming
and shaming and so on. As someone who was there I saw no inappropriate
I have sent the following to Sandra:

         Hi Sandra 

         I don’t think what you’ve written is really accurate and
unfortunately it has engendered a lot of misplaced anger. I have no
idea what happened at the golf course but it seems birders were on the
course and told to leave. However, birders were not responsible for
the Yellow Bittern leaving the Wallaroo Circuit lagoon.  

         I was there on Wednesday viewing the bird from the bridge. It flew
into very sparse low reeds no more than 8 m from the bridge. It was
totally undisturbed by the humans close by and showed no concern at
their presence. A number of people who went there on Thursday told me
the same thing; it and the Little Bittern were clearly unconcerned by
the presence of a large number of people. However, a lot of people saw
the Yellow Bittern attacked and driven off by the Little Bittern. The
Yellow was not seen at Wallaroo Circuit on Friday. It must have
already left and I believe driven away by the Little. I was at
Wallaroo lagoon on Friday morning and despite large numbers of people
no one could see the Yellow. No one could possibly have approached it
too closely, your ‘reliable witness’ notwithstanding. The Little
was foraging close by and still showing no concern at the many people

         As I said, I know nothing about the behaviour of people at the golf
course but at the lagoon I saw nothing inappropriate but now there is
talk of ‘name and shame’ etc. I believe everyone got Paul’s
message and they were acting correctly. 

        Jim Sneddon 

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