An Australasian Darter (Anhinga novaehollandiae, here referred to by the obsolete synonym: Plotus novae-hollandiae) is perched on the branch of a fallen tree with marshland and hills in the background. The author describes this bird as follows:
When on the lower limbs near the water it is always on the alert, and usually sees its enemy before it is seen by him. Then it drops into the water like a stone, and, once there, in its favorite element, defies pursuit, Here its greatest peculiarity is seen: never swimming with much of the body exposed; when its safety is threatened the body sinks below the surface altogether, and nothing is to be seen but the slender neck wriggling swiftly and silently towards shelter. When first seen swimming thus, the Darter is almost invariably taken by the inexperienced for a snake.