Stalking crocodiles


Great billed heron

2007…another shore excursion…I wasn’t looking for crocodiles and I was hoping they weren’t looking for me, but walking around in the mangroves at Augustus Island, one of the larger islands on the Kimberley coast you do feel as though you’re being watched with a view to dinner.

Wandering around under the mangrove canopy we came upon a well camouflaged Great billed heron chick sitting motionless in a nest about 6 feet from the ground.  Without paying attention you could certainly mistake it for a scraggly branch.  The herons feed in shallow water, spearing fish with their beaks, take off like an overloaded DC3 and have a call that can be mistaken for a crocodile; a loud, slow croaking or a deep, rumbling roar.

Heron or crocodile?  The call certainly snaps you to attention.

Listen here

A Great billed heron chick (Ardea sumatrana) in the mangroves on Augustus Island on the Kimberley coast.  The herons are listed as 'least concern' although they are vulnerable to mangrove habitat degredation. (Annabelle Sandes/© Annabelle Sandes | Kimberley Media 2011)