I was driving down a dusty dirt road in Devil's Hammock Wildlife Management Area when the little blue heron caught my eye. It was slinking around in the willow shade surrounding a tiny, shrinking roadside waterhole.
My morning had been fairly unfruitful so far. I had staked out a similar, but more remote waterhole for an hour or so and failed to capture anything more exciting than the usual gator heads.
It had been a little tense in there too since the waterhole is ruled by a very big gator who was not in plain view as usual.
More on that tomorrow.
With almost nothing to show for a few hours spent stalking and sweating, I decided to pull over and see what was in the little blue heron's waterhole.
The heron flew off as soon as I exited the JEEP, but there was this graceful water moccasin swimming in the shrinking puddle. The snake completely ignored me and diligently worked, probing and seeking food in the muddy water.
(I shot a few seconds of video, but of course Blogger won't let me upload it.)
The moccasin kept her nose down most of the time, seeking whatever small creatures might be sheltering in the shallows. She was so graceful and I couldn't help thinking if more people had a chance to watch her just going about her business, instead of coiled and defensive, they might have a different view of a much maligned (but very dangerous) snake.
I tucked myself into the shady willows and knelt down,hoping some heron or egret might drop in. While I waited, the moccasin continued her hunt in front of me. A hummingbird squeaked somewhere nearby, countless big blue dragonflies buzzed , and a pileated drummed in the cypress across the roadway.
It was pretty primevally primo.
Just about the time my toes were saying, "Dude, we really need to change position", the moccasin caught a fish.
Again the wonder of the snake jaw is demonstrated on Pure Florida. The snake worked pretty hard to get this fish down. It took about 5 minutes of effort, and then she seemed to actually notice my presence a few feet away.
With the tip of the fish tail still showing, she turned and slipped slowly into the willow roots.
I had what I came for, a unique experience, and a handful of photos ...
So, I left too.