Sunday, May 27, 2007

Long Time Between Drinks--- Pacific Heron

I set off early this morning, really undecided quite where to go birding. With a stiff breeze, but otherwise fine, I finally opted for a short trip to the Sorell area. After a brief stop at the Orielton Creek bridge, noting a solitary Great and 2 Little Egrets, I moved on to the lake at the Copping Golf course (on the Lewisham road). As usual I scanned the lake from my car, recording a number of Blue-winged Shovellers, several Musk Duck, a few Mountain Duck and about a dozen Chestnut Teal. I moved further down the car park and as I did I flushed a heron from a nearby pond. The heron, a size bigger than the common White-faced Heron, alighted about 30 metres away. A Pacific Heron. Now I expect many Mainland birders won't find that particularly exciting, but I haven't seen one in Tasmania since 1975 and it's not for want of looking! Here in Tasmania they're rare and most often the sightings coincide with irruptions from the Mainland. So for me very exciting.
As you may see from the accompanying images, this
heron, which I've always referred to by it's alternate name, White-necked Heron, was fairly easy to approach. In fact after its initial flight, it walked back to the small pond close to the car park. So here are 3 of many shots that I took. For me a long overdue sighting of any sort of rarity and from previous experience, may herald other sightings of this species around the state.


Anonymous said...

Hi Alan,
Thanks for the update - we shall have to keep an eye out up north here, for more. We saw one, about 4 or 5 years ago on a lagoon/lake beside the walk to Cape Queen Elizabeth, on Bruy Island. We've never seen any others in Tassie, but, like you, not for want of looking!

BirdingTas said...

Hi John,
Yes I probably shouldn't be raising false hopes. This bird might be a lone individual that's been roaming round Tasmania for the last few years! But I live in hope.