“What Is That Thing?!?”

This afternoon I was watching an alligator hunting in a small pool of water formed by low tide in the salt marsh. At one point an egret showed up and it seemed to be trying to figure out exactly what this big thing was lying there in the water. I was a bit surprised by the egret’s behavior as I expect it has seen gators many times but it’s possible this one is a new arrival to the marsh and has no prior alligator experience.

About two hours later a couple of spoonbills also arrived at the salt marsh. This one young spoonbill was particularly fascinated with the alligator, it kept walking along next to the gator, and was checking it out from different angles. I’m willing to bet this spoonie never has seen an alligator before and really was trying to determine what the heck it was.

In any case the alligator ignored both birds and just went about it’s business hunting for a lunch of fish and crabs. 

Alligator and Egret

Alligator and Spoonbill

38 thoughts on ““What Is That Thing?!?”

    • When an alligator is fishing like this in the shallow water they generally ignore the birds which are actually drawn to the area by the actions of the gators. When the birds have to be careful is when the alligator is under water in stealth mode.

    • A couple of times the alligator would very suddenly and very quickly and without warning lunge out of the water and the bird would jump straight up and back. The gator was just going for fish but it did really startle the birds. Of course the bird would stay anyway rather then leave.

    • Oh yeah, the alligator could not care less that the birds were there, it was like they were invisible. But you are correct, the birds are attracted to an active alligator in a situation like this because the birds know the gator will get the fish all stirred up making them easy pickings.

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