Checking out a Gordonton dairy farm this morning was an Australasian bittern, a nationally endangered bird.
Cloudy Hawk-eye McCleod was going about his farming business this morning and saw the reclusive creature by a pond. He contacted John Riddell who snuck out with his camera and extra-long lens and took the photo above.
“Cloudy said he’d seen a bittern and I said, yeah, nah – but he had,” says John. The bird flew away not long after the pic was taken.
Bitterns are nationally endangered; the New Zealand population is thought to be no more than 900, with possibly another 1000 in Australia. One of their strongholds is the Whangamarino wetland, but there are probably still a few around our district’s small peat lakes.
We’re chuffed one came visiting Gordonton this morning.
Click here for a story on Bill Smith, the birdman of Gordonton who has nursed at least three bitterns back to life.