Sneaking up on a Swamp Harrier: Chapter 2

Given that chapter one was a runaway success, I decided to continue in the theme of “Sneaking up on a Swamp Harrier- The Completely Gullible Edition”

First of all find your Swamp Harrier.  Seems logical enough and those big pools of water with the reedbeds seem the most obvious place to start.  And from a Russell Coight perspective  “Endless reedbeds that stretch as far as the eye can see… And with binoculars, even further”

And of course this classic on Emus, modified for Swamp Harriers

“Swamp Harriers tend to travel in pairs, or alone, or in groups and tend to eat at night or day.”

We were it turned on the look out for the elusive Sea-eagle.  So suitably stationed on what we considered to be one of its flight paths we waited. And.
Waited.
and Waited.
And had a cuppa, and waited.
In between,  the only Brown Falcon for miles sat on a boxthorn bush and waited.

Then along the shore line scrub a Swamp Harrier appeared.  Deep in concentration it was simply following its road map.  Anything that was out of the ordinary was checked out.  I am convinced, that they are not looking for things so much as comparing the current data with previously collected data. A bit like google mapping without the old out-of-date photos.  You know the ones that show the empty paddock down the road that is now a supermarket and carpark.  Or the open land by a creekline that is now 6 laned freeway.

In the same way that astronomers used to look for comets in photos by comparing night sky shots, I reckon Swampie has a visual shot of the bushes and is really looking for anything that is different on this pass.   Such as a new hatched Purple Swamphen, or a sleeping Eurasian Coot. (which according to Russell Coight, “Most Coots generally sleep with their eyes shut…….unless they’re open……or they’re awake.”)

Down the scrub it came. Head down.  No need to look up, it knew where it was going. And no other bird is going to stop in its way, and make it turn to the left or the right. It rules the skyway.

And unless this is your first post, esteemed reader, you’ll know what happens next.  The map is compared, “What are those humans doing there!!!!!”, and it turns away 180 degrees and is gone.

Head down locked on the ground below
Head down locked on the ground below
Everthing is checked and filed away for future reference
Everthing is checked and filed away for future reference
What is the human doing there!!!!!!
What is the human doing there!!!!!!
In the next milli-second it has turned
In the next milli-second it has turned
Anyone who has seen or photographed these birds, knows this LOOK> It might seem to be checking me out, but in reality it's readjusting the online database and making a note to avoid that area in the future.
Anyone who has seen or photographed these birds, knows this LOOK>
It might seem to be checking me out, but in reality it’s readjusting the online database and making a note to avoid that area in the future.
This bird then cut out to sea, and glided past our position before coming back in to continue its journey along the beach scrub
This bird then cut out to sea, and glided past our position before coming back in to continue its journey along the beach scrub
Gliding in to take up station for its next run.
Gliding in to take up station for its next run.

 

 

Russell Coight Quotes: All Aussie Adventures.  (Website address a bit dubious)

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2 thoughts on “Sneaking up on a Swamp Harrier: Chapter 2

    1. G.day,
      The data says about 40m on the closest approach. Some of the flying away shots are out to 70m or more.
      It’s almost impossible to know when the bird is going to pull away. Earlier in the day we had one go right overhead. But. focus wasn’t quick enough to react. My fault entirely.

      Like

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