Photo of the month – Who is circling Walker Swamp?

With NGT’s wetland reserves still holding water, flocks of waterbirds have been keeping the team on point as they look to identify who is around … and it seems that they have been getting some extra help from above!

For those of us who don’t have a heap of identification know-how when it comes to avifauna, we may have luck with the raptor featuring in this photo of the month because of one very prominent feature – a white rump!

A scene at Walker Swamp in February 2020. Photo: Lachlan Farrington.

The Swamp Harrier (Circus approximans) is a feature of many of the coastal wetlands and swamps of south-eastern Australia, often ‘quartering’ around waterbodies and their fringing vegetation and awaiting the moment to take a sharp descent onto unsuspecting prey. It is not in fact their eye sight that gives their advantage from the air but their hearing – Swamp Harriers, like many owl species, have a ring of feathers around the sides of their head to funnel sound to their ears.

And they were not the only ones listening at NGT’s Walker Swamp Restoration Reserve last week, with the alarms raised by birds causing an uplifting en-masse of many species as they looked to evade this aerial predator. Talk about a spoiler!

There is one bird in this image that doesn’t seem too phased, and the only one that hasn’t taken to the air … can you spot it?

Lauren Kivisalu
Lauren Kivisalu