Waterbirds of the Wyong River

Today, further adventures in Quaternary estuarine geology – a paddle along the lower reaches of the Wyong River, where it meets Tuggarah Lake.  With a brief stop at Lake Macquarie to photograph this heron hunting, that makes two young and lovely coastal lagoons in one day.  And both fine places to be a waterbird. After my recent insensitive remarks about coastal lagoons being fed by underwhelming little creeks, I’m a bit surprised we didn’t have any unfortunate upending incidents today.  The mighty Wyong River is forgiving.  And generous with darters.

And egrets, both intermediate and great.  I’ve got a feeling there’s one of each here.  Despite the name, the sure fire way of distinguishing them isn’t size, but a dark line that runs from the base of the beak beneath the eye.  The great egret’s commissural line runs behind its eye, the intermediate’s stops short just below.  But I still think you’re great, mate, despite your middle-of-the-road name and your meagre eye liner.

On the bank amongst the ducks, doing its best to be invisible, a clueless young black bittern.  Obviously it wasn’t listening when its parents gave it the talking to about bitterns hiding coyly in the riverside rushes.

And of course, the contractual obligation pelican on a post.  Thanks your offerings, this sunny Sunday, Wyong River.

6 thoughts on “Waterbirds of the Wyong River

  1. More beautiful bird pictures! By coincidence, darters feature in my latest post too. It was the first time I have seen them. My favourite pic is the last one with the pelicans. Magical! You live in a wonderful spot. 🙂

    • Thanks so much Jane. I enjoyed reading about your subtropical pelican… sorry, darter! I had only seen a couple before, down at Berowra Creek, hanging out on the roof of an on-water tikki hut, and when we visited Ganguddy over the New Year. But I saw loads in the Wyong River, which is a bit less than an hour’s drive from here. I love their snakey necks – they’re not just shaped like snakes, but they move like snakes as well. I’m afraid I might have given some of them a persecution complex as they would fly away as I approached (or dive into the water and then just disappear) and then just as they were settling in on another branch further up the river, there I would be again. Gorgeous birds, especially the reddish wing feathers when the sun shines through them….

  2. Hey Mccnmatt those pictures are sublime! We’ve got a little urban white- faced heron up here. In the mornings we find it poking between people’s letterboxes and up and down their driveways. Thanks for a lovely post. Cheers, Paula

    • Thanks Paula! Glad you enjoyed them. None of the birds are really unusual – except for the black bittern, which I originally thought was a striated heron. They aren’t too common in the south east, apparently, and are normally super shy. That one was a bit young and gormless I think – flew straight over the river to hang out with some ducks, about 5 m away from where I was loitering in my kayak. Lucky me! I do love the white faced herons though (I love the lanceolate plumes on the hunting one here). They seem to be very flexible about their habitats. There are some near where I work at Macquarie Uni – they wander around on the grass, especially after rain, enjoying worms I guess! I have never heard of one that investigates letter boxes though!!

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