Wednesday, December 11, 2013

All depends where you are along the food chain

Last week I was so exhausted from all the arrangements to relocate our foster cats, Jess and Blackie, that I had to end my post early with a "to be continued" 

Because it was such an interesting and awesome bird-watching day, I just have to carry on posting about it here. 

As I'd posted about the glorious sunrise and the sun's rays on the flock of egrets and on an ibis in a tree over the road, now I need to tell you about the return trip we made again that evening. 

While still on the road along the mine, we stopped at some shale banks surrounding deep puddles of water. I'd seen a pair of birds which I only recognized once I had them focused on my camera screen.
Immature Long-tailed Cormorant on their nest
As we drove along the road to the dam, Grant stopped so that I could photograph the trees against a dramatic backdrop of stormy skies. 
 African bush silhouetted against a dramatic sky

Just before we turned off towards to dam, I spotted a flash of blue in a flock of mousebirds.  Although the Speckled Mousebirds are plentiful, you have to look for the Blue-naped Mousebirds. Their long slender tails distinguish them from the other mousebirds; they have red-faces whereas the Speckled Mousebirds' faces are black and the bright turquoise-blue patch on the nape is a sure characteristic.
 Blue-naped Mousebird
 Once we drove onto the dam wall, I focused on the expanse of  murky water and the black skies behind it

As we sat and took in the scene, Grant looked to his right where the water had collected in a trench beyond the wall. He'd seen a scuffle in the water so I swung my camera in that direction and clicked. At first all we could see was a waterbird whose bill kept dipping under the surface of the water. 
A waterbird was tussling with something in the water as we watched

 We knew this bird was trying to secure its dinner; we just couldn't make out whether it was a fish or another water creature
 Then the bird came into view and we saw it was trying to turn a large frog around to be able to swallow it

It's incredible how this bird had to maneuver the frog around in it's beak without dropping it back into the water

 Once the bird had turned the frog onto its back, it had no chance of escape

 We watched as the bird swallowed the frog

 When it flew up onto a dead stump to dry its wings and rest while it digested its meal, we realized it was a Long-tailed Cormorant! 

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  1. Now i am given to wondering wether the long tailed cormorant is related to the chicks on the nest???
    Love your dramatic skies Jo, particularly the first shot with the trees. I just love those dark purplish clouds, they seem to constrict and amplify the light.

  2. Amazing to watch that cormorant eat that huge frog.

    Glad your charges are taken care of.

  3. Wonderful photos Jo! Just great the way you were able to capture the cormorant eating a frog of all things. I have never seen cormorants (or at least to my knowledge I haven't). I never forget the name of the bird though because they featured prominently in a series of books I read by Jean Auel (Earth's Children series).

  4. I want to stand up and applaude. Amazing series of photos. Wish I could get some like that. Absolutely love the one showing the whole frog with his legs waving.

  5. Wonderful shots of the cormorant having dinner! The frog looks too big for it to swallow.

  6. Jo, lovely series of photos. The sky and tree shot is beautiful. And the Blue-naped Mousebird is pretty. Awesome series on the Cormorant with the frog. All great captures, have a happy day!

  7. Wow what a fabulous sequence of photos you captured of the bird eating a huge frog. Well done. The dramatic sky made nice shots too. Glad your cat saga is over.

  8. Hi Jo How wonderful to be in the right place at the right time and get these shots. The frog is really big. it would have been great to get it on video.

  9. Oh my goodness! What a show you caught!

  10. Now that's something one doesn't get to witness often! A pair of hands would certainly come in handy, but they seem to manage quite nicely without them.

  11. WOW! Incredible Jo! Glad you were there to take the shots!

  12. Amazing capture and story here! So the bird could really get that whole huge frog down it's long neck entirely okay?? Does the desperate frog put up a good fight, once it's swallowed, does the unlucky frog slide down kicking all of the way as well?!



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