This is the Yellow Bittern creating a huge stir among Australian birders. Native to Asia no one knows how this little guy ended up in a creek pond of an upmarket suburban housing estate in Brisbane.
According to media reports this is the first sighting of this bird in mainland Australia for as long as anyone can remember, which explains why the road in front of the pond is crammed with cars and at any one time upwards of ten birders and bird photographers are stalking the banks of the pond. However, much to the relief of the non-birder residents across the road from the pond the circus is likely to end soon as there has not been a sighting since last Thursday.
What was very interesting about this sighting was the fact the Bittern was not at all shy and openly stalked the pond vegetation less than 10m from the camera resulting in my coming away with tons of good shots of it going about it’s business oblivious of it’s fame.
To be honest, I find the reaction of the presence of this bird in Australia is quite amusing. Having spent years photographing in Asia I would not normally give two seconds to it. But being down here sort of obliged me to get off the couch and go down and make an effort to press the shutter. Having said that, I was pleased I did because I met a number of interesting people and got loads of tips about good birding sites that I would otherwise never have learned about. So I suppose I should at least thank the vagrant immigrant for that!
Reading one of the on-line reports about the sighting it seems some bird watchers witnessed the other resident Bittern in the pong; a Little Bittern having a territorial dispute with this yellow trespasser. Unlike the yellow bittern, the little bittern is very shy and only periodically sticks its head out from the dense reeds in the center of the pond. Now for me, this is a much more interesting bird to photograph as I have not got shots of it before, and in it’s own right is a bird seriously under threat. Unfortunately the distance from the bank to the reeds was quite far and I had to use a converter on the lens to get anything worthwhile. Unfortunately when you do this you have to live with the lack of detail. But, now I know where this bird lives, I will be back to try and get more shots of it some other time.
For anyone interested in checking out the pond the GPS Coordinates are 27 deg 12′ 35.9″S, 153 deg 01′ 19.9″E. The Eremaea Birdlines website at http://www.eremaea.com/BirdlineRecentSightings.aspx?Birdline=7 is a good link as it has frequent updates on this as well as other sightings.