Sunday, March 18, 2007

Javan pond heron visits Darwin

Quite a surprise visitor over the last week, with the sighting of a Javan pond heron in Darwin. This was sighted near Casuarina Beach, a Darwin suburb, in a large stormwater drain. Really caused quite a twitter among twitterers [ those people who MUST see new birds] who have come from all over Australia who check it out. It is presumed to have been blown off course by the strong west and north west air flows of the past few weeks including strong airflows from recent cyclones.

Today is a wet Sunday, so why not see for myself? And yes, located quite easily, and almost no one there either. And I have photos to prove I WAS THERE!

The sighting has made major news items in Darwin [ was it a slow news week.....not sure?], and now seems quite content among the gum leaves.

There are some fantastic images on Google of the Javan pond heron, albeit from within its normal habitat of SE Asia, particularly Indonesia.

But its presence once again also highlights the closeness of north Australia to Asia, and potential vulnerabilities to incursion by pests and diseases of that region. There are sentinel flocks of chickens around the Top End that are regularly checked for antibodies related to some insect borne diseases that are carried on the NW air currents in the wet season. These problems have been known since the mid 1970s, but regular vigilance helps with knowledge and detection. There is a vigorous program within AQIS to manage these risks, for these air borne diseases, as well as plant and animal pests, weeds and diseases. news story on the Javan pied heron in Darwin

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