Why did the chicken cross the road?

“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,091216Keys3 151 a pelican at the helm of a speedboat,

a flying spider (his fine web disguised by the bright blue sky),Flying spider, Florida Keys a snowy egret waiting patiently for a haircut as he poses on a barber’s chair,Snowy egret on barber chair, Florida Keysa 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.Egret, sunset, Florida KeysWhite ibises flocked in a dead tree at sunset formed a brown and gold sculpture.Ibises, sunset, Florida KeysThe 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 – Parrot Fish, Long Key. Floridaas 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 stingPortuguese man o' war, Florida Keys – 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.

42 thoughts on “Why did the chicken cross the road?

  1. I often see groups of geese crossing–actually more like strolling–across busy streets. I often wonder why they don’t FLY across–they migrate hundreds of miles in the air, yet they won’t fly across a four-lane road!
    (Great pictures as usual!)


  2. Oh man….you can’t drive to the 50th state? Now I’m bummed. I did have floats on order though! I love the way in which you see your subjects…..such imagination. And I think you SHOULD get another camera and retrace your travels. I know I would appreciate it. I’ll even follow to keep you company 😆


  3. Brilliant photos… love all the birds, fish and all… getting damn good you are… next on your wish list will be a longer zoom lens for the birds… love it…


    1. My camera is not all that special. Digital zoom on Eddie the Eagle wasn’t great. I need a more flash model and then retrace our steps over the 47 states again. Maybe even 48. Or 49. (Can’t drive to the 50th state)


  4. Lovely, lovely photos. When I lived in a small town in Queensland opposite a park, I saw something walking down the road, checked closer and it was a koala bear strolling onto the park! It climbed into a tree and went to sleep. Called a park ranger who came and checked it out, he said it was fine and when it was ready, most likely at night, it would climb down and stroll off again.


    1. Great to have these surprise views of nature – if they are not bearing down on you. Left the library one night in Arizona and was surrounded by javelinas (like little wild boars). I backed slowly into the automatic doors as the big daddy with his hackles up followed. Thankfully the doors closed and we watched each other through the glass! 😯


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