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Circle work in the bush

November 6, 2017

The bush dam on our property is a mecca for all sorts of fauna and approaching it with stealth is often rewarded with the sight of something unusual. This week a flash of blue indicated the presence of a Sacred Kingfisher, a bird rarely seen in our area but arguably the most beautiful one around. An even more cautious approach did not reveal the bird but I did notice ripples in the water on the far side of the dam (see photo above). Thinking the rakali was back I settled quietly into the rushes to watch.

What I saw was a Red-bellied Black Snake (Pseudechis porphyriacus) slowly and ever so gracefully swimming around the edge of the dam checking in at every reed clump – presumably for food such as frogs (no frogs were croaking!).

I would have assumed that a Black Snake would be a land-based hunter but this specimen swam around the edge of the dam twice before realising I was there. It then swam underwater across the other side of the dam before reappearing and wrapping itself around the base of a reed (see below).

Two thoughts came to mind.  Firstly these snakes are obviously just as much at home hunting in the water as they are on land. Secondly, I spend a lot of time around this dam. I am always consciously looking for snakes but in this case, even though I knew where the snake was I could not see it from a land-based vantage point.

This  event is shaping up to affect my photography in the same way Jaws affected my surfing all those decades ago – that niggling worry in the back of the mind…

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