Lake Panic near Skukuza in Kruger is a foolproof photographers dream location. It’s almost impossible to sit in that hide and not come away with something worth keeping, be it birds or wildlife. Even photographing common birds like the African Jacana is a pleasure as they go about their business oblivious to your presence very close to where you are seated.
The hide is a very popular spot and there are always a number of people in it at any one time so I imagine the birds must have become used to the close clicking of cameras, but even then its fantastic to watch them fish or forage just meters away.
On this last trip one Jacana caught my attention as it strutted across a section of vegetated water studiously looking for something to feed on. The long toes of the birds feet disperse its body weight over a huge area giving the impression the bird is walking on water. In sections where the vegetation is very sparse Jacanas run across the water using their wings to add lift and compensate for the lower downward resistance of the few lily stalks or grass below its feet. And it’s all done as if its nothing!
Looking at this you can’t help but wonder what sort of contraption man would come up with to solve his problem were he obliged to feed on the same aquatic insects and their lavae that is a Jacanas food. You quickly come to the conclusion that nature is millions of years ahead of man in conceptual and practical solutions to the problem of how to walk on water!