anhinga displaying its catch.jpg

Don says: While vacationing in Florida I decided to get up early and go to Shark Valley in the Everglades National Park. Although the park doesn’t open until 8:30 AM, it is accessible 24 hours a day if you park on the highway, and walk the 3/4 mile or so into the park. The lighting is generally pretty good in the park in the early morning, and I was there about a half hour before sunrise.

On this particular morning, an anhinga was swimming in the channel catching fish. The anhinga (often called a snake bird) looks similar to a cormorant with a pointed bill. It swims under the water and spears fish with its pointed bill. When this anhinga caught a small fish, it would toss it in the air, catch it, and swallow it headfirst. When the anhinga caught a large fish, it would normally bring it to shore so that it wouldn’t lose the fish in the process of removing it from its bill. When I saw this anhinga surface with a bluegill, I decided to lie down on the shore in a location with a nice background and hoped it would come ashore near the spot where I was waiting. At first I thought it was going to come too close to me and my 300mm lens, but luck was with me. I could not have hoped for a better spot, and I got a nice series of shots. This one is my favorite.