Garden Visitors: White-Faced Heron

This heron has been visiting for the past few days.

Recently I spotted a large bird on the piece of land between my house and the power sub-station next door. The first time I only caught a glimpse as he/she flew away but I was fairly sure that it was a heron of some type.

The bird has returned a couple of times but it was only today when I went outside to check the meter box that I spotted it again casually walking along the perimeter fence. This is the same area favoured by my noisy plover neighbours, it seems to be some kind of bird highway. Anyway, this time I thought I might have time to run and get the camera although I knew that I had to reinsert the memory card as well. By the time I had done that the heron was roughly opposite my kitchen window where I have taken bird photos before.

Heron taking a stroll.

I took two or three photos. They are not great because the bird doesn’t stand out that well against the surroundings. I decided to take a chance and run for my long lens as my standard zoom lens is only 18-50mm. I thought that at worst the bird might be gone when I got back but luckily it wasn’t so I had time to take a couple more where you can see it a bit more clearly.

A White-Faced Heron. March 2019, Port Huon, Tasmania

Naomi recently gave me a book about Tasmanian birds so once it had disappeared behind the garage I hurried to get it. There are two types of heron found in Tasmania. This one appears to be a White-Faced Heron. The book says that it is a common, small heron about 66-69cm with a white face and throat and yellow legs. I’m unsure if this is a male or female. They are found all around Australia and make their homes in wetlands, such as the margins of swamps, dams and lakes and in other estuarine areas. Although my house is not right by the water the Kermandie River is just across the street. It’s a narrow stream here, quite shallow and reedy. It flows into the Huon River at Port Huon, a couple of kilometres down the road from me so this bird is not far out of its habitat.

This little corridor between me and the substation seems to be quite popular with the larger birds. I’m not really sure what the attraction is but it’s nice to get a chance to observe them. I’ll be looking for more opportunities to photograph the heron in future.