Friday, 6 March 2009
Pacific Reef heron
Last week a couple of Reef Herons moved onto the mudflats. Actually there have been three in total but they are mainly solitary feeders so I have only once seen all three at a time. They are not common birds, their numbers having dropped in the last few decades due to humans encroaching into their nesting habitat (which is rocky coastlines.)
In the past whenever I have tried to photograph Reef Herons they have been exceptionally difficult to approach.
When I saw one last week it was perched on a dead tree surrounded by water on a very high tide. I remember a friend telling me she could get quite close to reef herons when she was on the water in her kayak. I thought it might be worth quietly wading out in the water with my camera. The heron watched me but began preening so very slowly I got closer and closer. Before long the bottom of my 3/4 length pants got perilously close to the water so I wound them up. The closer I got to the bird, the deeper the water became until very soon my pants were well and truly wet. Finally the heron dropped down into the water and began fishing.
By this stage my arms and shoulders were beginning to ache (big lens gets very heavy after a while) but the water was quietly receding so I dropped onto one knee and rested an elbow on it while I got some great shots of the bird in action. He fed very differently from the more common white faced heron, running after fish with wings sometimes outstretched. He was so entertaining I didnt realise my pants were in the tide almost up to my crotch! The bummer about my favourite birdwatching possie is that the stopbank runs right by it and all sorts of people walk past and wonder about this weirdo lurking in the mud up to her privates in the riverwater!