Monday, May 16, 2011


The Scorpion and the Frog

A scorpion and a frog meet on the bank of a stream and the scorpion ask the frog to carry him across on his back. The frog
ask, "How do I know you won't sting me?" The scorpion says, " because if I do I will die to." The frog is satisfied and they set out but in mid stream the scorpion stings the frog. The frog feels the onset of paralysis and starts to sink. Knowing they will both drown, but has enough time to gasp "WHY?"
Replies the scorpion; It's my nature..

(We normally try to present beautiful images on our blog. Either people or nature. But not today at least not many. Some would say these images are gruesome and they would be correct. So why are we publishing them? Because the are a real part of nature  and I felt is was right to show both parts of nature. Besides I am a photographer and it is my nature to photograph and then share my images.)

When I was young I read all of Aesop's fables and never forgot this one. It came to mind recently while we were photographing at the St. Augustine's Alligator farm. In the past I have described the symbiotic relationship these birds share with the alligators. Writing that the alligators prevent predators from reaching and climbing the trees in the swamp. Thus preventing them from eating the chicks or eggs in the nest. I also slightly touched on the other side of this relationship. If one of the eggs, chicks or birds were to get to close to an alligator, well then they would become a meal.

It is difficult to think of one of these beautiful birds 

being eaten by one of these alligators

 Many of us would be horrified by the sight and have a hate/fear of the alligators. Not exactly a beautiful creature!!! Interesting and fascinating but not really a classic beauty! Plus they have that nasty habit of eating birds, dogs, cats and other small animals. Interestingly humans are not identified by them as prey but they will attack if they feel threaten. How would we threaten them?? Realistically pretty hard to imagine but they are hunted and if they just perceive danger then they will attack. Here in Florida it is illegal to feed them, if fed they could lose their fear of humans and associate them with food. Thereby becoming a greater danger to people. We have to be careful when near any fresh water pond, swamp  or canal. If you believe urban lore you folks in New York City might want to stay out of the sewers. You might also want to check for more then just if the seat is down!! lol.
If they cannot kill something because it is to large they will drag it under water and perform a death roll. Rolling and thrashing around to break off parts of their unlucky prey.

On this particular day I was photographing some really cute little tri- color heron chicks in their nest. I then heard a commotion around the bend from where I was photographing . I hurried over and saw all the photographers looking down into the water. As I looked down I saw an alligator swimming with, what was obviously an egret trapped in it's jaws. It had ventured to low on the branches hanging over the water and the alligator lunged out and caught it. The bird was already dead and most of it was inside the gators mouth.

As it swam away with its catch other alligators starting swimming in it's direction.

They were looking to take his meal away, just as he approached land it was attacked. A short lived fury of water erupted as they fought for control. The first alligator never letting go although a chunk of the egret was torn off by the other alligators

He started climbing up on to the embankment and when he reached cover ( out of our view) another fight broke out and he came running back into the swamp, still with the carcass. 

It was finally left alone and swam aways to eat his catch alone.

We had noticed  that under most nest were alligators laying or floating. Waiting for a chance at a meal.

This one had an egg for breakfast. Notice the blue shell next to it's   jaw.

 They are pretty frightening looking animals. Almost prehistoric in their appearance.
They can be up to 14 feet long and weigh 800 pounds. I saw a few there that were close to 14 feet long and looked like they were approaching 800 pounds.

This one seemed to be more like 9 - 10 feet long.
Should we hate the alligator for killing these beautiful birds? I really do not think so. Much like the scorpion it is their nature. It is how they survive by catching their food. They do get fed at the farm but they are been trained by thousands of years of living in the wild. These habits are inbred and should not be judged. You may not like the facts but it is the truth. I think we have found out throughout the years that nature has a plan and it is usually a really good plan. One that in most cases should not be meddled with.
So as the song is written you might see  green alligators and  long neck geese but not together! At least not for to long!!


bjbohls said...

Hello Jim -

You're an amazingly talented photographer with a gifted eye for detail. I especially appreciate all the color and detail in the close-up of the bird, Aesop, I believe you called it? You write a wonderful storyline to support the photos as well. Nicely written and done!

Roy Durham said...

that is great to show the truth of life in nature. to many take the pretty picture and not the fact of life in the wild. thank you jim and god bless

fantacy in practicality said...

This is a part of the life cycle of ecological balance, still the picture makes us sad. you have captured each step of the predator winning over the victim, so well. i guess it was really hard for you to capture the scenes without any emotional stride.

JIM said...

Thank You bjbohls I really appreciate your very kind words.
Roy I might not do it often but I think it is important to show. God Bless you also

Fantacy.. You bring up an interesting point.. It actually was not hard while I was photographing it..when I photograph something like this I become a documentary photographer and detach myself from what I am seeing,Later when I am doing post production it becomes difficult. When I am doing a loving couple then my emotions try and become one with theirs. I need to feel their feelings
Thank You

fantacy in practicality said...

now i know why your pictures are so balanced and perfect.

Mari Sterling Wilbur said...

Everybody has to eat....

Great photos-I didn't realize how big these guys got. Scary!

Nelieta said...

Hi Jim, ooh I am not sure I would have liked to see how a crocodile eat this beautiful bird! I have grown so fond of them since I have started following your blog!

Abhisek Panda said...

This is part of nature.Not only the wild life but examples can be found in our society too.But the photographs are excellent.You always capture the feel of the subject. :D

Chase My Dreams

Corinne Rodrigues said...

Riveting pictures again, Jim. The law of the jungle - so real and harmonious in its own way. Thank you for bringing us this wonderful 'story'.

Harshad Sonaje said...

Wow very nice way to describe your pictures..I really liked them..I can't blame the crocks either..what about we (includes me) humans we eat so many beautiful animals even though we don't need to..

Jerly said...

The write up was interesting. Wonderful enviablejob yours, enjoying closeness with nature, observing it!

Katheyn Volikos said...

amazing work <3

a have a new post if youd like to check!
love, Katheryn

Alpana Jaiswal said...

Amazing pictures Jim,and yes..the truth of life,law of the jungle,or survival of the fittest.
I wish to say this..Jim..You don’t take a photograph, you make it.


once again superb piece of work sir.... its just a different world when i come to ur space and see these wonderful pics snapped so intelligently.....
Thnx for sharing....

baldychaz said...

Wonderful as ever mate, me i believe in naturer so everything is as it should be. Its only humankind that messes everything up ;(

melissa said...

"che lotta.."
i tried looking at the alligator's point of view for a change :P... it's easier to say who the 'bad' guy is... there's so much struggle and competition for survival... and yes, it's all part of nature and their existence... they couldn't have been possibly created in another way... that photo of the alligator with the blue egg shell was very delicate... i feel sad for its fate though... i'm learning a lot from your posts jim... they are always well thought of :)... thanks for focusing on the alligators this time... there was action in the scene... but always be very careful when you take their photos :)

Alfandi said...

nice shot of the to the alligator, I think the best comparison is of us rushing off to Kentucky Fried Chicken..