Shy heron the guest 'beaker' at mangrove morning

A MANGROVE discovery morning at Fig Tree Creek attracted a good crowd last Sunday.

The discovery morning, organised by Wildlife Capricorn and Capricorn Catchments, began with prominent local naturalist John McCabe taking us on a walk through the mangroves. This got off to a good start when a striated, or mangrove, heron was spotted at close range and started a flurry of photography.

These shy herons are found along the coast of mainland Australia, from Shark Bay, Western Australia, across northern Australia to Queensland and south to Mallacoota in Victoria.

Striated herons live exclusively around mangroves and intertidal flats and have a characteristic hunched posture, pulling their head closely into the body and flicking their tail downwards.

Their diet consists of crabs and other crustaceans, as well as molluscs, small fish, frogs and aquatic insects.

They stalk their prey slowly, either standing and waiting for it to emerge or plunging at it from a perch. They will also lure fish by dropping a feather or leaf carefully on the water surface.

The sexes look alike and nest in mangroves, building rough stick platforms in the mangroves over the water.

Both sexes share nest-building, egg incubation and care of young and two broods may be raised in a season.

Other activities during the morning were a Landcare presentation on Fig Tree Creek, an informative Crocwise information session by the Department of Environment and Heritage Protection, all followed by a sausage sizzle and music.

We would like to thank all those who put in so much effort.

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