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Sunday, 30 June 2013

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyrio

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria

I went to photograph a Datura for a post I have been working on about the Plant family Solanaceae as well as a discussion of the difference between two genra that make up Tribe Datureae in Solonaceae: Datura and Brugmansia. Unfortunately the flowers had already closed so I ended up drving up to Aleisa and then decided to listen to my intuition and go up the road to Fiaga Power Station.
The road was unfrequented but in excellent condition so I had no problems and pulled over every now and then to take photos of various plants that caught my eye. Then as I approached a large field of newly planted taro I saw something moving on the roadside.
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria
 Imagine my utter delight when I saw two Purple Swamphens - Porphyrio porphyria strutting around! One disappeared into the long grass opposite the cleared field with taro, but the other one stayed on the mound of excavated dirt that ran along that side of the road (no doubt for laying electrical power lines).
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria
 I stopped the car and started taking photos because this is one bird that I have often seen around usually in bush land and large plantations but have never managed to get a decent photo off. I have seen one on a banana tree eating bananas at Vailele and Alafua but they are skittish birds and always fly away into surrounding scrub or high grass so running to get my camera is pointless. I few weeks earlier I saw one up at Tiapapata and took some photos with my camera phone. But the photo quality was dismal.
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria
 This time I was able to take quite a few pictures as it strutted around, posed and looked for food in the dirt. It also started across the road and then went back again. All which allowed me to take some reasonable photos. Fortunately my zoom allows me to get close ups as I was not close at all.
Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria

After taking a few photos I started to edge the car forward a bit as I wanted to get closer for better quality photos. I was able to inch forward about a couple meters before the Purple Swamphen decided I was getting too close and flew away to hide in the long grass. Nonetheless I was quite happy as I did manage to get some slightly better quality photos.

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria

Purple Swamphen - Porphyrio porphyria

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