On my visit to the Australian Botanic Gardens in Mount Annan, SW Sydney last week I was surprised by the behaviour of the Purple Swamphen shown in the photo above. It didn’t seem to mind me walking past only a few metres away, nor was it concerned by the lady sitting at a picnic table about ten metres away.
I am not used to seeing Swamphens sitting down in this manner except when they are sitting to hatch their eggs. It almost looked as if it was in the process of actually hatching its eggs. Or was it just having a little rest? Normally, I am used to seeing Purple Swamphens strutting along elegantly on their long legs, rarely hurried and quite at ease with the world.
There are two major flaws in my idea that it was preparing a nest, or sitting on eggs.
1. Swamphens usually make a nest in a stand of reeds, treading on them to make a flat platform on which they make a nest.
2. When I went past this spot some twenty minutes later, the bird had moved on.
I guess it really was just enjoying a quiet rest in a comfortable spot.
Over the last few weeks I have been sharing photos of some of the birds I saw while visiting the Western Plains Zoo in Dubbo, NSW. On another occasion I commented that all of the birds seen in the zoo are actually birds that are free and not part of the exhibits. I also commented that many of these birds have adapted to the feeding times of the various animals – a free feed, so to speak.
The Purple Swamphen (see photo below) is one such bird. It was skulking around, perched on a flimsy branch of a tree, waiting for the Ring-tailed Lemurs (see photo above) to finish eating their dinner.
On our recent boat trip on Lake Alexandrina and the River Murray we took a little detour into a new housing estate with water frontage. We had to slow right down from the 25mph we had been travelling at to a very modest 4 knots (7.4mph). We also had to navigate a narrow canal less than 10m wide so this gave me an ideal opportunity to do some close up birding.
Unfortunately there was very little to see, with the exception of the Purple Swamphen shown in today’s photos below. It seemed quite unconcerned by our presence as our captain manoeuvred our boat through a tricky passage before turning around and leaving the channel and back out to the river.