Swamp Harrier rapid turn

We watched the Swamp Harrier making its way up the long grass towards us. Every so often it would make a course correction, or swing down to inspect possible prey.  It was so intent on the work that it really didn’t notice two people sitting by the side of the roadway.

As it was close enough to pass over us, it finally saw us and made a swinging attempt to pull away.  The large wings and tail scooped around like a parachute, stopping it dead in the air, its long legs began to swing out, to give it a point to turn on.

The first pic shows the wings and tail coming into action, the second the long legs now acting as a fulcrum to turn the whole body almost completely around.  The crops are unintentional, the bird was simply too close to get it all in the frame.

The next pics in the sequence show a Swamp Harrier disappearing rapidly in the evening light.

Grinning widely we started to breathe again.

Swamp Harrier in a parachute braking turn
Swamp Harrier with tail and wings folding out to slow it down and the legs swinging forward to give it leverage for the turn
Swamp Harrier with legs extended, tail splayed and wings on down beat for a very fast turn
Swamp Harrier with legs extended, tail splayed and wings on down beat for a very fast turn