DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster)

From the archives………

In my efforts to reduce my photo library, I’ve come across several bird images that I don’t think I’ve ever shared before.  Mainly because they didn’t have particularly sharp focus.  This image of a Darter (Anhinga melanogaster) in the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne is one of them.  The image was made in July 2013 – Winter.

This cormorant-like bird was standing near an old wooden jetty on an island way out in the middle of the large Ornamental Lake in the Royal Botanic Gardens and I didn’t have a tripod at the time, so a hand-held shot with the heavy 150-500mm lens was the best I could do.

I went back many times over the following days with a tripod in the hopes of a better shot, but never ever saw the bird again.

It’s a very large bird with a long sinuous neck and very distinctive feather pattern.

With its wings outstretched in the image in my Australian Bird Guide Book, it looks so much like many of my Cormorant shots of birds drying their wings out.  My Guide Book says it swims down low, often with only its snake-like head and neck out of the water and dives frequently, so I was pretty lucky to catch this Darter sitting quite still on a tree bough.


12 thoughts on “DARTER (Anhinga melanogaster)

    1. Thanks Terry.
      One of the great things about our Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne, besides the formal garden beds, are the many rustic or native type of bushland areas, especially on the islands in the middle of the large Ornamental Lake. Note: the smaller lake at the eastern end of the 38 hectare site is where I shot many of my water lily images on Nymphaea Lake.

      Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Otto.
      It definitely has soft focus on the eye, which is where bird photography should be sharp. Putting it next to some good bird shots really shows up the lack of sharpness on the head. I think commenters are drawn to the wonderful feather markings which are definitely sharper than the bird’s eye 🙂

      Liked by 2 people

  1. What a majestic bird and great capture! 👍🏻 I’d probably return to the spot too, it’s pure magic and then I hope 🙏🏻 to get a better one the next time. 📷

    Liked by 1 person

    1. I’m always hoping for a better shot (if the focus isn’t as sharp as I’d like in bird photos). Landscapes can be a little more relaxed in focus.


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