Wednesday, April 18, 2012

Cattle egrets, Bass Rail Trail

While not a designated birding event, the 70-300mm lens happened to conveniently fit in the bike's pannier rack while riding the Bass Rail Trail last Saturday!

A rest break was suggested when a group of Cattle egret was spotted!

Cattle egrets (Bubulcus ibis)
The scene is painted through the eyes of the Canon Ixus
At 70mm uncropped with the EOS - cattle & egrets just visible
At 300mm and cropped (above & below)
really could have done with the 150-500mm!

This bird has not always been present in Australia. From Pizzey:
"colonised Northern Territory (probably from Indonesia) in 1940s as part of a worldwide expansion"
I assume this relates to:
Clearing and the provision of water for stock in dry areas have favoured the expansion of the Cattle Egret's range. The birds are valued by farmers for keeping crop pest (i.e. insects) numbers down and reducing cattle tick infestations (from Birds in Backyards - cattle egret)
I was looking for support from Eremaea statistics to support my anecdotal feeling that Cattle egret sightings in Victoria might be increasing and becoming less seasonal.

No such support was forthcoming!

The locally famous Kilcunda beach rail trestle bridge - now restored for cycling and walking.

View from the bridge
It makes me wonder what a memorable train trip this would have been!
Typical Bass Rail Trail scene - looking east just outside Kilcunda

1 comment:

  1. Lucky for those Egrets they were not in my area in February: With the unusually low negative temps we had for 3 weeks, not one survived..
    And many other species suffered tremendous losses.
    Great pics, Pete!