“I’ve never seen a chicken cross the road before.”
Sitting at an outdoor margarita bar and lulled by tequila and palm fronds floating in a warm tropical breeze, I wasn’t expecting one of the great mysteries of the universe to be solved before my eyes, much less be given the opportunity to capture it on film, or in megapixels, or however you express it these days.
As I looked up, a rooster escorted his missus across a busy (or what passes for busy in Key West) intersection while traffic screeched to a halt in all four directions. The perfect picture opportunity passed so quickly I didn’t even have time to reach for the camera case.
“So he did want to get to the other side.” And I’d only had one drink. Or was it two?
Thus was our Florida Keys experience typified in one small incident. The tornado watch and hearing tales of alligator-swallowing pythons on our way south weren’t the half of it. Driving off the southern tip of mainland Florida onto Key Largo begins a journey into never never land.
Abundant wildlife appears to pose for elegant and humorous photographs alike. Photos of laughing gators, a pelican at the helm of a speedboat,
a flying spider (his fine web disguised by the bright blue sky), a snowy egret waiting patiently for a haircut as he poses on a barber’s chair,a great egret waiting patiently for lunch standing on a railing outside his favorite restaurant. Click to enlarge pics. He’s in all three:
“And he’s real picky,” I heard the waitress say. “He likes shrimp. He won’t eat clams or anything fried.”
We watched a pelican swallow a whole crab but it wouldn’t go down his gullet. He ucked it up a couple of times and attempted to re-swallow it, but without success. The outline of the hapless crab shows clearly in the photograph in a bulge in his neck.
A cormorant, balanced on a stake with his wings held out to dry, dropped his head at the last moment as I snapped, looking shy as though I’d caught him just stepping out of the shower.
Great egrets stalking their dinner are bathed in evening sunlight, turning their feathers flamingo pink.White ibises flocked in a dead tree at sunset formed a brown and gold sculpture.The bald eagle, perched in a distant cell phone tower next to its nest, waited for me to go back to the trailer and read my camera instruction book so I could return and zoom in on it digitally.
Even sea life was considerate enough to swim into shallow water to be photographed clearly from above – blue fin crabs in attack posture,
and brightly colored fish – as the photographer is too squeamish to swim amongst them.
Not wishing to sound too much of a sissy, Portuguese man o’ war jellyfish – beautiful cobalt blue bubbles of sting – were prevalent as I tiptoed through the shallow water with my camera in hand.
Come back soon! There’s more!
N.B. If you recognize that restaurant please allow me some artistic license. It’s on the Gulf coast, not in the Keys.