Friday, 9 November 2007

Some local images and a few from a recent holiday

Swan battles in the early morning mist

For about an hour I watched Bidou see off another black swan and also a mute swan that was foolish enough to venture into her adopted family of mute swans' territory. It was surprising to see her take on the role of the male mute swan and chase the newcomer away. It's almost as if Bidou believes she's a mute swan! Every day she turns up with her 'albino' family. If the cygnets are on their own Bidou tries to drive off one of them and, recently, the parents no longer bother to defend it.

Bidou flies upstream to attack the intruding black swan

There is no love lost between Bidou and the other black swans. Usually there's just one intruder but today she had two to contend with. She seemed to concentrate on one more than the other. Once she felt she's chased them far enough away she immediately returned to the mute swan family, only to have the drive the black swans away again, several times.

An osprey waits for its mate to return

We were delighted to be able to watch this osprey for quite some time while we were in the Everglades on holiday. We could hear its mate calling while it hunted but weren't lucky enough to see it return with a fish in its talons. They are such magnificent birds and such powerful hunters.

A little green heron waiting patiently for supper

Little green herons are shy and retiring birds. This one was standing on a branch overhanging the water waiting for the right moment to strike. Sometimes they stand motionless in the water but there was an alligator close by and this one was probably wise to keep it in his line of sight.

A tricoloured heron watches for prey from the safety of an overhanging branch

This heron flew to the safety of the branch when a sly alligator made a sudden lunge at a little blue heron wading in the water close by. Alligators can accelerate faster than a racehorse over short distances but, fortunately, both birds were safe on this occasion.

An iguana poses for the camera

We were 'sitting on the dock of the bay', as the song goes, when this iguana chose to munch on some grass at the side of the beach. When it had eaten a few mouthfuls it slowly ambled across the beach at the water's edge and climbed a palm tree in the neighbouring cove. A few minutes later we saw another iguana emerge from the shadows and follow the first iguana up the tree. Iguanas are now flourishing in the wild in Florida after people bought them as pets and then dumped them when they grew to be too large. They don't make good pets. They have very sharp claws, are bad tempered and can carry the salmonella strain.

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