The Yellow Bittern at North Lakes is Eminently Twitchable

To: Birding Aus <>
Subject: The Yellow Bittern at North Lakes is Eminently Twitchable
From: Laurie Knight <>
Date: Sun, 13 Jul 2014 11:46:55 +1000

To borrow the words attributed to a rugby league commentator, it’s pretty, it’s 
tame, it’s there.  

I joined a number of other birders (including some Birding Aussers) at the park 
on Wallaroo Circuit, most of whom had cameras.  The Yellow Bittern was far more 
active than the Little Aus Bittern and was happy to be out in the open.  It was 
unaffected by the twitcher’s attention.  It flew around a fair bit - on average 
about every 15-20 mins and was often walking out in the open.  One time it was 
flushed by a toddler chasing a scurvy looking domestic duck, and another time 
by a swamp hen when it was sitting on top of the reeds preening.  It did just 
about everything you would expect a bittern to do, except hide.

The Little Aus Bittern was much shyer in comparison, but did show nicely on 
occasion and even flew a distance once.  I did manage to get both birds in my 
camera viewfinder at the same time (they were about 5 metres apart).

The situation of the wetland is a neighbourhood park.  It is a stone’s throw 
from houses, and you park beside the lake.  One of the locals was spreading 
bird seed on the footpath, much to the delight of the waterfowl.  There are 
also cats prowling the streets.

There is a bush corridor running behind the lake and there was a koala loafing 
about 20 metres from one of the viewing spots.  There is a concrete path 
running around the lake - a bridge at one end and a kiddies play area at the 

You can twitch the bird while having a family outing.

As Brendan mentioned, the Yellow Bittern may well have been seen by a local 
birder in March and I heard one of the residents? saying that it had been there 
for two years.  He thought there might be two, but might be referring to the 
Little Aus Bittern.

I’m not sure why the comment was made the other day that the bird was off 
limits and that birders should stay away.  The only place it would be off 
limits would be when it is on the golf course.  Otherwise, there is no reason 
not to go and see the bird.

I suspect the Yellow Bittern will be there for a while, so I would put it in 
the “must see” category if you are in Brisbane for any reason.  As long as you 
don’t deliberately hassle it, you are unlikely to disturb it.  It can be seen 
easily and at close quarters, so there is no need for silly behaviour to get a 
good photograph.  The location is easy to get to and about 30 mins drive from 
the airport.  You could probably get there via public transport.

Time to look at the many pix I took this morning.

Regards, Laurie.
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