Date: 23rd March 2009
Place: Karanji Lake, Mysore
The above shot I took by moving very slowly towards the Heron knowing how easily this bird gets spooked by the slightest disturbance. The picture above is not exactly what I had in my minds eye though. I wanted a silhoutte shot, but clearly the light was not bright enough for one. Anyway, luckily I could capture an Anhinga with a fish dangling from its beak in the background.
I have talked enough of the Anhinga (Darter Bird) already in this blog – how it catches fish, how it swims, how it takes to flight, et cetra. But there is another aspect of this Bird I want to present here today. The way the Darter swallows the fish. Catch fish, gulp it down, well, it aint as easy as it sounds. The Anhinga swallows the fish head first so as to make sure that the fish doesn’t get stuck in its long slender neck. In order to swallow head first the grip ought to be right. As the Anhinga catches fish (as we all know by piercing it) and breaks the water surface it doesn’t always have the best grip on the fish, so it does the most basic thing – keeps the fish out of water long enough to suffocate it, then later by tossing the fish in air it adjusts its grip quite delicately before finally swallowing it head first. I personally have seen some very high tosses and equally splendid catches. I present below a few of them.
The perfect toss and an equally perfect catch.