I photographed this Australian Darter (sometimes called snakebird) drying its wings in the sun on the bank of Perth’s Swan River. I moved in close at ground level to the Darter and from a few feet away managed to get this shot. I was totally focused on slowly getting in close without disturbing the bird that I didn’t notice until later that I was also the subject of a couple of passing photographers that were seemingly impressed that I managed to get so close without the bird flying away and were snapping pictures of the two of us, me on my belly with my Nikon D700 camera in hand and the bird with a very wary eye on me.
The Australian Darter feeds mainly by diving underwater for medium sized fish, they stab their prey with their long sharp beak. They return to the surface where they toss their food into the air and catch it again, so that they can swallow it head first. Unlike ducks the feathers stay wet and they must dry them to fly properly again.