Not for some years …

At least once or twice each week I visit Cairn Curran Reservoir, usually travelling across Joyce’s Creek and then wending my way around the storage to Picnic Point.

On recent visits I’ve observed, most times, at least one but up to three Great Egrets, as I cross the creek. Yesterday afternoon a smaller white bird, clearly an egret, caught my attention as it sat crouched on a limb of one of the dead River Red Gums along the creek.

It was an Eastern Cattle Egret, a bird that I haven’t seen in the district for some years. This one was all-white, a juvenile lacking the orange-buff feathers that are typical of breeding birds – traces of this plumage are often also seen in non-breeding individuals.

As their name suggests Cattle Egrets are generally found as small flocks in association with livestock, especially cattle, where they forage for insects disturbed by the grazing animals. Cattle Egrets are much smaller than both the Great Egret and Intermediate Egret (a rare visitor). The prominent feathering under the bill, creating a ‘jowled’ appearance, is a distinctive feature.

CattleEgret1

Eastern Cattle Egret, Joyce’s Creek, 9th May 2022

CattleEgret2

II

CattleEgret3

III

CattleEgret4

IV

6 responses to “Not for some years …

  1. Flying into the old Bali airport over 45 years ago , surrounded by green fields and rice paddies, I was surprised to see hundreds, if not thousands of Cattle Egrets . They are still there in somewhat smaller numbers due to tourist development no doubt, and I now know they have spread right across Australia . It’s still a joy to see them near me in nth Vic on recently cultivated land or irrigated paddocks . They remind me it’s too long between trips to Bali .

  2. Thanks for the comment Paul. Certainly the flocks are larger in warmer climes, while in southern Victoria it’s unusual to see more than a few dozen at a time. Cheers, Geoff

  3. Great shots as always. Shot iv reveals a couple of ‘spikes’ protruding from the front of the wings near the tip. What would they be/for?

  4. What has happened to your emails? It was always easy to open the beautiful photos but something has changed.

  5. equus66optusnetcomau

    Hi Geoff

    Do you have an explanation as to why this movement of birds that you have nort seen for some years happening now in your part of Victoria? Is it to do with the rainfall in NSW and Queensland driving them south?

    Love your pics.

    Rod Horsfield

  6. George BROADWAY

    Well done Geoff Another bird to add to the list, as well as a photo. Still a few remaining to get Regards George

    >

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