Interactions between birds and Man are not news to many of you. My mother’s favourite sight is a tractor being followed by gulls as it ploughs the autumn fields. She even asked me to draw her such a scene as a birthday present (you must understand that she is a very indulgent parent and was apparently delighted with this 8-year-old’s efforts).

EZE 09May16 weed catcher 01

Art has since been abandoned, but the memory abides of birds taking advantage of Man’s labours and the pleasure to be found as they become very approachable into the bargain. Oh, to be that tractor driver! The memory was triggered recently by a weed catcher on Laguna de los Copios in Buenos Aires, Argentina.

EZE 09May16 Wattled Jacana 07

La laguna is troubled by floating weed. Two paddle-powered weed collectors work full time to mitigate the profusion of surface growth and are accompanied by birds who feed from the insects disturbed as the tractors plough up and down through the weeds.

EZE 09May16 Wattled Jacana 08

Young Wattled Jacanas chase about using their long toes to navigate across the broken mats (does anyone else see a resemblance to Montgomery Burns?).

EZE 09May16 Cattle Tyrant 01

A Cattle Tyrant rode shotgun on the collecting bucket, leaping down into the scoop when it spied something to eat.

EZE 09May16 Cattle Tyrant 02

A Spectacled Tyrant was slightly more wary and perched on reeds nearby until the tractor passed and then dropped down onto the weeds to see what had been flushed out.

EZE 09May16 Spectacled Tyrant 02

When the scoop was full, the water tractor paddled off to dump its load on an increasingly large pile. Waiting at the top of the soggy mound was a pair of King Wood Rail, one of which could barely be bothered enough to take a sideways step as the bucket was upended onto the heap.

EZE 09May16 King Wood Rail 06

Oh, to be that weed scooping paddle-tractor driver!

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.