RFI - Little Bittern Records from Northern Australia & a previous live Y

Subject: RFI - Little Bittern Records from Northern Australia & a previous live Yellow Bittern Record
From: Frank O'Connor <>
Date: Thu, 07 Aug 2014 12:02:27 +0800

An old thread from a month ago, but I have been away in PNG.

The Australian Little Bittern is resident on Lake Kununurra and associated lagoons such as Lily Creek Lagoon, swamp on the golf course, etc. Little Grassbird also occurs there. Both species were formerly not recorded from anywhere close (I think 1,000 km or even much further) before the Lake Argyle irrigation scheme in the 1960's (Lake Kununurra) and about 1970 (Lake Argyle). Incredible to think that species are moving around like that and then find suitable habitat and get established.

I worked at the Argyle Diamond Mine from 1988 to 2001. This is about 30km south west of the south end of Lake Argyle. I recorded Australian Little Bittern twice in 2000, one sighting and once heard. The sites were siltation ponds from the Alluvial processing plant where typha reeds had become well established. The sites also attracted several species of crakes, Star Finch and others. I didn't record Little Grassbird though, although I had one record of Tawny Grassbird at another similar site.

I believe that birders in Broome have recorded Australian Little Bittern at Nimilaica Claypan, and that someone has recorded it at the Derby sewage overflow.

As for Yellow Bittern, the first Western Australian (Australian mainland?) record was at Kalgoorlie, I believe after a cyclone in January 1967. Chris Doughty of Peregrine Bird Tours also reported one on Lake Kununurra (or maybe Lily Creek Lagoon) on a boat trip during a tour but did not have the time to fully document it, so I don't think this has been officially accepted. I think this was in the late 1990's. I was unaware of Adrian Boyle's record at Broome.

Frank O'Connor Birding WA Phone : (08) 9386 5694 Email :

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