Hi all- I am working on photo identification of birds on lower Avon River. There are at least 7 bitterns there. An eighth bird was sighted in the reeds on the lower Heathcote. This is a very signficant event with almost a fifth of Canterburys bittern population at one site. Yet I am concerned that the birds are vulnerable to predation and sighted three feral cats working the reed beds and noticed several cat predated mallards and one wounded mallard in the reeds. The Christchurch City Council has been notifed and hopefully a trapping program will be underway as most of the bitterns are concentarted in a small area.
Also as the site is next to a busy highway the chance of road-kill is quite high as bitterns and cars don't mix.
Also there is a Bittern conservation page on Facebook-
"Bittern Conservation - New Zealand"
If anyone makes any sightings or has any photos I would be interested-