Jabiru sightings around Toogoom a rare treat for bird lovers
OPINION: I have just returned from holidays to find there has been plenty of action locally in the bird world.
I am very fortunate in having many nature loving friends and acquaintances who, from time to time, like to share their different sightings with me.
One recent sighting of jabirus I thought was worth sharing with readers.
Although they are a bird that is common across the north of Australia, in our area it's classed as a rare vagrant so any sightings are a bonus for bird lovers.
I was told of two different sightings in the Toogoom area.
A friend was lucky enough to be able to capture a photo of two of them stalking the shallows in one of the swamps there.
Not far away, another bird from the north who also only visits from time to time, brolgas were also seen around Toogoom.
Changes in climatic conditions would appear to be the reason for the visits from both these birds.
Also known as the black -necked stork, Australia's only stork, the jabiru is a long striding, stately bird, fascinating to watch as it slowly stalks the shallows looking for food.
Its large black beak can quickly dart forward on sighting food, which can be frogs, fish and even small water snakes.
From a distance it appears to be just a black and white bird but, if you can get close to it (which is not easy as they keep striding away), you would notice its head and neck has in fact an eye catching iridescent green and purple sheen.
Juvenile birds, which to date I have never seen this far south, are unlike their parents in colour.
They are brown and white and it's roughly four years before they change colour.
I have seen jabirus at River Heads and at Toogoom in the mangroves, but they do appear to prefer fresh water wetlands.
Even a view of jabirus from a distance is interesting so hopefully a few bird lovers will be get a chance to see them before they leave.