White-necked Heron

I was travelling from Meadows to Echunga in the Adelaide Hills region of South Australia this morning when my well trained eyes spotted a rare bird. Well – rare for me, that is.

I came to a screeching halt at the side of the road – after checking the mirror of course. This road is often used by large trucks thundering along at break-neck speeds. What I didn’t want was one of them breaking my neck by plunging into the back of my vehicle.

In a swampy area some 80 metres from the road was a single White-necked Heron feeding in the water. This is a widespread species in Australia but one I have rarely seen. In fact I think I’ve only seen it three or four times in the last twenty years. I have obviously not been looking in the right places, or I need to get out birding more often.

I didn’t have my camera with me but that was no great loss as the bird was probably too far away for a good shot anyway. To see a photo of this species click here.

Other interesting species feeding in the swamp included Black Swans (with several cygnets), Eurasian Coots and Chestnut Teal. Dozens of Tree Martins were swooping low over the water.

My enforced five minute interlude from work (delivering parcels) was very rewarding.


7 Responses to “White-necked Heron”

  1. Duncan says:

    Seeing lots of them over here at the moment Trever. Used to be a very occasional sighting, but after the July floods they’re not at all unusual.

  2. Duncan says:

    Oops, just rechristened you! Sorry.

  3. Trevor says:

    That’s all right Duncan. My new name now more perfectly rhymes with “clever.” Very perceptive of you.

    Sounds like most of this species has headed your way. It’s about the only “wet” place in Australia at present – except for the spot I saw this bird. That little part of the Mt Lofty Ranges is quite green, lush and all the dams are full. Quite a contrast with the rest of the state.

  4. […] in the week I wrote about a sighting of a White-necked Heron near Meadows in the Adelaide Hills. I commented that I have rarely seen this species over the years […]

  5. Lance says:

    Just this morning 14/9/11 I saw an unusual bird for this area, have lived here for 52 years and not seen one before, looking it up I found it to be a juvenile White-necked Heron. The area I saw it in is a flooded pine/swamp forest 20km north of Noosa Heads on the Sunshine Coast.

    • Trevor says:

      Hi Lance,

      Thanks for visiting and for leaving a comment.

      This is one bird that seems to elude me quite often. It is relatively common and widespread throughout Australia – it’s just that it seems to be in places where I don’t go!

      It’s interesting that the one you saw is a juvenile. They usually should be starting to breed right now, but they also breed in response to good rains. I guess you could say that you had good rains earlier in the year!

      Nice sighting.

  6. Beverley Burns says:

    Have just happened on this site while googling the White-Necked Heron. Being new to this occupation, well never really had the time nor lived in the right area before, but have always loved the calm I feel when watching birdlife visit my area. We have just moved part-time to the Rylstone area in NSW I became very excited when this visitor happened to appear on my dam 2 weeks ago on two consecutive mornings I became very intrigued as other than for a couple of ducks the birdlife seemed a little scarce around our dam so I now have great expectations that I may be able to encourage more species to visit. Hope he returns and maybe brings more with him, one can only hope.

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