Mister Alligator And Friends

So last night an alligator was feeding in the shallow water of the salt marsh at low tide. As is often the case, Mr. A’s sloshing around had attracted the attention of a few of the wading birds that were in the area. Quickly a wood stork and an egret arrived to join in the feeding frenzy, scooping up fish that in a panic were jumping all over in an attempt to get away from our alligator pal.

The birds know that an actively feeding gator can provide a jackpot of fish and they will purposely stand around near the alligator and even follow it as it moves from side to side herding the fish as it goes. The wood stork was particularly bold but the egret hung right in there as well. The birds may be taking a little bit of a chance, but they can also tell when Mr. A is focused on catching fish and crabs only and is paying no attention to them.

Also in the nearby area was an ibis, a snowy egret, a great blue heron, and another wood stork. But none of them were quite as brave as these two here. They are likely older and more experienced birds and are better at reading alligator body language which is an important skill to have in the marsh if you wish to cash in on the seafood bonanza available when Mr. A is really working the area hard. 

Mr Alligator and Friends

Mr Alligator and Friends

Mr Alligator and Friends

Mr Alligator and Friends

Mr Alligator and Friends

59 thoughts on “Mister Alligator And Friends

  1. Good evening
    have you subscribed to, if you also subscribe to me you can find me better in the reader and there see my older articles, and if like like.The eye is as you know.Let …auch inspire my images when I have written much on German, you can enter it with your naked eye.
    My name is Andrea and come from Oberhausen is located in North Rhine-Westphalia.
    And what’s your name?
    Your pictures are great, are great, I think all good, very toll…ich am looking forward to more.
    These are pictures from their homeland?
    Where exactly are you from.
    To have beautiful they made in the wide Univerum.
    All the best for you and your family
    Wish you have a pleasant Tag.Herzlichst Andrea

    • Thanks very much Gunta and I am thrilled you enjoyed these photos!
      Well the marsh residents really do all the work, I just hang around and attempt to record some of it. 🙂

  2. The bird’s courage should be appreciated ! 🙂 !
    The last picture shows Mr. A in close proximity of the bird !
    And then , what happened , Phil ?

    Your shots are awesome !
    utham

    • Those birds are quite brave indeed and I’m very happy you liked these photos utham!
      In the last photo that alligator was actually looking for and hoping there was a crab somewhere in the mud. It basically just ignored the bird and went about it’s business leaving the egret alone.

  3. Hi Phil, we are at Huntington today. Hoping to see a wide variety of birds. Is there a time of day that is better to catch more varieties? So hoping to see a spoonbill

    • Debbie it seems that lately early morning and late evening (especially when it’s low tide in the salt marsh) is the best time for bird sightings.
      I have not seen a spoonbill in close to a week now.

    • That wood stork just kept shadowing the alligator and wouldn’t leave it alone. But I guess it sorta knew what it was doing, I never saw a wood stork eat so much fish before.
      Thanks for checking these out.

  4. Stunning photos as usual! It’s amazing how the birds have the ability to ‘read’ the Gators and take advantage of this. The last photo is especially great!

    • Hey thanks a million Molly! It’s also funny how some of the birds pay absolutely zero attention to a feeding alligator while others are nervous wrecks. This wood stork did not care one bit.

    • That alligator had to be swallowing a good portion of muddy water along with his fish.
      This wood stork especially did not care one bit about the alligator at all as best as I could tell. When the gators are sloshing around like that it’s usually safe for the birds. It’s when they go under water in stealth mode that birds need to be careful

    • Thank you very much for checking out these photos and I’m glad you enjoyed them.
      The wood stork especially was often trailing right behind the alligator and grabbing fish that it’s big tail would stir up.

  5. Fabulous pics once again, Phil. Do alligators ever attack and eat birds, because the birds never seem to be overly concerned about getting up close and personal? 🙂

    • Thanks very much Sylvia, I’m happy you liked these pics!
      When the birds have to be careful is when the alligator is under the water in stealth mode. When it is openly sloshing around grabbing fish and crabs they know the birds know they are (mostly) safe. 🙂

    • Thanks and no they were cautious but not scared. In fact the birds seemed to be happy to let Mr. A do most of the work getting the fish all in a frenzy so the birds could grab them. 🙂

  6. My God!!!! What a serie of pics!!!! It is incredible to see how wise animals are…All instinct….
    I have discovered your place through Paula (Lost in Translation)…and I am happy… (I am also happy I do not have alligators near by, and just storks and cranes…:) )

    • It is rather surprising I will admit, but I have seen it many times now so I know it’s not an isolated behavior.
      Thanks very much for checking these out Paula and I’m happy you like the photos!

  7. Choke on a feather once and you learn. I’m sure centuries of evolutionary gagging has taught the alligator to concentrate on fish. And we all know that the waders are a bunch of big teases. 🙂

  8. I have been lurking and seeing some of your photos and commentary on Ugly Hedgehog, then a friend whom you are probably meeting soon if not already, on a trip to SC, told me about this blog and sent a link. I cant tell you how much I look forward to your blog posts and photos. Wow. Nice job. I hope to be half as good some day. Nice that you are close enough to this park to hang with the locals too!

  9. Pingback: We Now Interrupt Our Regularly Scheduled Great Blue Heron Programming – Weekly Photo Challenge: Carefree | Babsje Heron

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