27 April 2013

Kahu, the swamp harrier



Kahu (the swamp harrier; Circus approximans) are common here. I see them every day as they patrol the terrace and the road, looking for dead possums or whatever else might be edible. Getting close enough for a decent photograph's an entirely different matter. They're exceedingly wary and have astonishing eyesight. This is the closest photograph I've ever managed, and even this has been cropped heavily. A couple of kahu had been feeding on a possum corpse in this creeper and I could watch them from the kitchen. I managed to inch my way out onto the verandah for a series of photographs; this one best portrays the character of these beautiful birds.

[7 April 2013, Panasonic Lumix GH1, 100–300 mm at 300 mm, ISO 200, 1/1600 at f5.6. Heavily cropped.]

All content © 2013 Pete McGregor

7 comments:

Zhoen said...

"Keep moving, buddy."

I would not mess with that bird.

Barbara Butler McCoy said...

Zhoen nailed my response exactly! Stunning photo.

Relatively Retiring said...

Wonderful....those eyes are terrifying! Are they mainly carrion eaters?

robin andrea said...

Such intensely beautiful eyes. Great photo.

Relatively Retiring said...

Should have read your informative link earlier!

Elephant's Child said...

Such fierce intelligence. Beautiful. And that intelligence is no doubt part of the reason they are cautious as well.

pohanginapete said...

Thank you everyone for the comments. Coincidentally, I've been watching a kahu out the back today; it's been feeding on the boned-out ribcage of a cattle beast intended for dog tucker. I could see it from the back window; couldn't get a decent photograph, though