About Me

My photo

I've been a Canberran since moving here from Adelaide on the first day of 1980. I now live in suburban Duffy with my partner Louise Maher, ABC 666 radio and on-line journalist. Among my early memories is following Sleepy Lizards (Shinglebacks) around the paddocks north of Adelaide, guarded by the faithful bull terrier. I have always been passionate about the natural world, trying to understand how it works, how the nature of Australia came to be, and sharing those understandings. My especial passions are birds, orchids and mammals. For much of my life I have been a full-time naturalist, running bush tours, writing books etc, doing consultancies, presenting a regular radio slot on local ABC, chairing a government environment advisory committee and running adult education classes. Recently I have eased back somewhat, but am still writing, teaching, doing some radio work and running overseas tours - as part of my fascination with our Gondwanan origins I've been running tours to South America for the past decade. I was awarded the Australian Plants Society Award in 2001 and the Australian Natural History Medallion in 2006, both for services to education and conservation. In January 2018 I was awarded a Medal of the Order of Australia for 'service to conservation and the environment'.

Thursday, 25 October 2012

One Bittern, Twice Shy

This one also harks back to one of my first postings, entitled When is a REALLY Lousy Photo OK? Bitterns represent a subfamily of herons, generally short-necked skulkers, often partly nocturnal, of dense reed-beds. Until last week I'd never managed to photograph one, but an Australian Little Bittern has been hanging around near the bird hides at Jerrabomberra Wetlands for the past week or so. Others (including my friend Martin of House of FranMart - see alongside) have had more luck catching it in the open, but it hasn't happened for me yet.

On the other hand it's probably worth illustrating its extremely cryptic nature - after all, you can always get decent pics on the web! This species was only recently separated from the widely distributed Little Bittern and given the name Ixobrychus dubius, though the erratic English/Australian ornithologist Gregory Mathews recognised it as such, and applied this name, back in 1912. It is one of the world's smallest herons, being scarcely more than 30cm long and 100 grams in weight. 

OK, here it is...


Does this help?

OK, fair enough; here's the blown-up version.

Still pretty dodgy I fully admit. But sometimes, that's all you see. And it's taken me some decades to get that one... Back tomorrow with something perhaps a bit more tangible!


Melissa said...

Hah. I enjoyed that. What a great series. There he/she was lurking behind the reeds.

Ian Fraser said...

Thanks Melissa! I'm glad you enjoyed it. It's always interesting to know what appeals to different people! (I love the look of your garden by the way.)