Gliding past

This afternoon S and I took a walk from the Bell Block end of the Coastal Walkway, with the aim of finding the Waipu Lagoons. According to a local book, the Australasian Bittern can be seen there, although it tends to keep in the undergrowth. We found the lagoons. Fenced all around, and behind a locked gate. If there is a way in, we didn't see it.

Walked on past two horses (which S stopped to talk to and pat). Attracted by the sound of two aeroplanes flying over, I looked up and caught sight of a kahu (the Swamp Harrier, also known as Australasian Harrier); a hawk to most of us. It soared, circled and headed well away and met up with two others. All then circled slowly back, before one passed slowly overhead, close enough for me to get this photo.

I made some minor adjustments to the exposure and also cropped out excess sky. 

The first kahu I saw today was this one; it is a juvenile. Identified as such by the blackish wing tips, the dark secondary wing feathers, and the rufous underwing coverts. The first one to come back closely was an adult female, distinguished from an adult male by a subterminal underwing band which widened obviously toward the body, and a distinctly broader innerwing compared to the outer wing. I'm really pleased that I have got good photos of two different kahu, allowing me to distinguish between them.

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