Friday, June 27, 2014

HUDOLPHIN SCHOOL FEEDING ON PIGSKIN MACKERALSNAPPERS AT ST. AUGUSTINE BEACH

After Katy and Rob's wedding, the support crew was totally exhausted, yet very happy that the hard work and the weather had combined to make the wedding ... well, kind of dreamy.

Luckily, we had chosen to stay on the beach, so the following post wedding recovery day was pretty awesome.


Our luck held out on this day also, as the rare Hudolphins (Tursiops hunkatus) were feeding in the surf break.
Even more amazing, we were able to see their even rarer prey, the Pigskin Mackeralsnappers ( Snapperus oblongus).

For a nature lover like me, it was a pretty special day. Again, fortune smiled, as I happened to have the Olympus Tough "everything proof" camera with me.
The following shots were taken while the Hudolphin pod fed all around me in about 3-4 feet of water.
I can't help rooting for the prey a little when I watch big, intelligent predators feeding.
In the photo above, the little Pigskin Mackeralsnapper has jumped high enough to elude the Hudolphin below.
I know, I know, predators have to eat, but it is nice to see the prey get away once in awhile.

Research shows that the female Hudolphins are the most intelligent and graceful of the species. Nothing I witnessed that day contradicted that hypothesis.

The bull Hudolphins seemed to be not only feeding, but leaping especially high with impressive splashes as they fell back into the sea. This is probably a courtship or territorial display, much like we see with Gulf Sturgeon in the Suwannee River. 

If you are wondering ...  no this little Pigskin Mackeralsnapper did not get away.

One more sign of Hudolphin intelligence ... they seemed to celebrate or even congratulate each other when an especially difficult catch was made.
Not a good day to be a Mackeralsnapper ... and yet ... there was this one Mackeralsnapper who made a valiant effort to defend his school.
You can see him attacking one Hudolphin head on as another leaps away from the angry bull Mackeralsnapper.

It was awesome being so close to these wild creatures and just another reason to love the ocean.

You never know what will turn up when you venture in.

6 comments:

Miz S said...

The boy ain't right, it's true. But the boy IS funny and clever.

My favorite line: "Research shows that the female Hudolphins are the most intelligent and graceful of the species. Nothing I witnessed that day contradicted that hypothesis."

R.Powers said...

Miz S,
That holds true for any species on any day.

Julie Zickefoose said...

Actual har har har's here. Especially appreciate bull Hudolphin breaching, falling backward into water clutching pigskin mackerelsnapper. The perfect finial on what sounds like a perfect event, beautifully pulled off. BRAVO!!

robin andrea said...

Wonderful photos of these rare beauties at play! You do have a very active imagination.

Pablo said...

"courtship display" Jeez, FC, you're in the mix now.

Banjo52 said...

Very clever!