Australasian Bittern have returned to a restored Hutt Bay wetland – but who’s watching who?

It’s not often you get a chance to get up close to the secretive Australasian Bittern. A moving shadow of the wetlands, often you’re sure you saw one in the reeds… but then it was pretty far off… was it just a broken branch? Or you’re straining to hear over coastal wind and crashing waves… “I think I heard one”.

After the 2022 wetland restoration works at NGT’s Hutt Bay Wetland reserve, we’ve been lucky to flush a bittern from thick vegetation on a semi-regular basis while traversing the swamp, confirming their return and ongoing residence in the wetland. Their booming call has been clearly heard a number of times, including two calling at once.

We have several cameras out capturing the passing wildlife, and while reviewing images from a levee bank last week, amongst the endless photos of egret, heron, duck, and occasional amorous kangaroos, up pops the distinctive noggin of an Australasian Bittern, seemingly with a beady eye on our camera.

Click the first image below to start a slideshow.

We love a bit of wildlife detective work, but who’s really watching who here?

We’ll file it alongside the Bittern image below from the Long Swamp restoration in far South West Victoria, back in 2019.

Australasian bittern near Nobles Rocks
Australasian Bittern near Nobles Rocks
Jonathan Tuck