For the last three years, each November I have noted in my Gould League Banksias and Bilbies Seasons of Australia diary (a wonderful book, now sadly out of print) that a solo White-necked Heron has visited my little dam.
This year it didn’t come in November.
But in the first week of December, there it was. This time I didn’t spot it first on the dam, but as I came down my verandah steps, I saw it on my solar panel array. Double take!
I ran inside for the camera, muttering ‘Please stay there, please,’ and barely had time to take a photo before it flew off to the nearby dam.
It did its usual slow strut through the water’s edge, skirting the waterlilies and all the life they hide, only this time it was making a call.
I thought it was a frog at first, but there was only one. It was a repetitive guttural sort of croak.
Then even from my distance away I saw its throat distend with each croak, as obvious as a swallowed golfball.
My book says it makes noise when startled, which it wasn’t, or on the nest, which it wasn’t. Ideas, anyone?