Watching the ‘Blue Crane’

I once held a White-faced Heron in my hand, astounded at how small and delicate this seemingly large waterbird actually is. Growing up in the Western District this species was often known erroneously as the ‘Blue Crane’. I hadn’t heard this moniker for years until recently – reminding the observer, in a minor outburst of pedantry, that this beautiful bird is actually a heron. Our only local crane is, of course, the Brolga.

White-faced Heron, Loddon River @ Newstead, 9th March 2017

Earlier this week I watched three White-faced Herons on the Loddon, ‘fishing’ from a giant fallen River Red-gum. Unusually they allowed some close observation as they clambered around the fallen limbs searching for small fish and other prey in the water below. As I sat quietly a White-necked Heron languidly cruised past and an adult Nankeen Night-heron flapped overhead en route to its evening hunting spot. A nice trio for minimal effort!

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8 responses to “Watching the ‘Blue Crane’

  1. I’d imagine you were very pleased with that shoot, Geoff… Brilliant!

  2. Hi Geoff

    I assume that comment about cranes means you don’t get the Sarus crane down that way.

    Jon

    • Hi Jon

      Yes, thats correct, no Sarus Cranes down this way … but who knows what the future holds!

      Brolgas are thin on the ground too.

      All the best, geoff

  3. Hi Geoff, I agree with you on how small they really are. We seem to always see them at a distance, and sort of ‘will’ them to a larger size. But to hold one, or to be very close as one steps by, is to appreciate the small size. I think they weigh in around 1/2 kilo.

    Super shots as always

  4. Chris Johnston

    “My” heron was flapping to the pond today and saw me nearby – a challenging to reorient his/her flight path – nearly hit me as it flapped up and around. So beautiful! Sat on the pergola peering at me, and me peering at it. I think this bird is the reasons for the disappearance of frogs in the pond. Wonderful to have it around.

  5. I have always liked Graham Pizzey’s description of one beside his pond, “Tense, alert, a white-faced heron stands carved in grey steel”

  6. I had a nice encounter with a white-faced heron this morning. She chose the wrong time to rest on a rock next to the bike path around our lake. When she scrambled into the air to escape the 27 geared monster she flew in the same direction as I was going. I was doing maybe 35 kph but she was faster and disappeared off towards the wetlands near Cockle Creek – where I saw her again a short time later, foraging along the bank.

    My friendly white-faced herons left after breeding season since the kookaburras had a nest in my front yard. Being incessantly dive bombed by irate kookas wasn’t something they liked, but I forgive the kookas who now have three fine young ones.

    This time of year is good for making friends with one particular species. This photo is from a few minutes ago. He’s remarkably tame.

  7. Thanks Geoff; lovely heron photos. Husband Brian has a heron ‘friend’ near where he fishes below the Laanecoorie Res. It’s nearly always there when he is fishing, so they both fish together!

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