The male Alopochen Aegyptiaca attracts the female with a combination of honking, neck stretching and feather displays. These are also the warnings of eminent attack.
This weekend, I dashed out of the house
before the sun rose to find an
interesting photo and headline.
Trekking the rim of a fog enshrouded
lake in Jupiter Florida,
I found more than I was looking for.
As darkness turned to light,
turtles, snakes, alligators and mule deer appeared.
But, then, at the water’s edge THEY appeared.
Our eyes made contact.
And a headline formed in my brain:
LOVELY SWANS FOUND DANCING
BY FLORIDA LAKE
They were the size and shape of swans, but had a strange brew of features. For one, their eyes were fiery orange
with dark sinister rings—perhaps nature’s way of warning?
But their legs were large and loopy and colored bright pink as if to say “Come closer, we are a festive, happy go lucky species!”
ALIEN VISITORS APPEAR IN PALM BEACH PARK
These were not swans, ducks, nor geese.
They were “escapees from a captive waterfowl collection”with a serious rap sheet. But I did not yet know that.
These invaders came from Lake Victoria
Africa. Ancient Egyptians considered them sacred—and included them in tomb paintings. More stuff I did not yet know.
I focused the telephoto lense on the female’s Cleopatra-like
eye. It stared at me as though I were a dead mummy.
[caption id="attachment_491" align="aligncenter" width="3000"] Egyptian Geese from Lake Victoria, Africa may have been brought to South Florida by private collectors.
EGYPTIAN GEESE ENJOY ATTACKING HUMANS
The swan-like figures turned to greet me.
Later, would I see You Tube videos of adult Egyptian Geese attacking and killing Shelducks in the Netherlands.
I began clicking away, getting wonderful images of this loving pair as they honked amorously, necks stretched while exhibiting gloriously feathered wing tips. The golden sun highlighted sharply pointed colorful bills and fluorescent talons.
What a rare treat to witness one of nature’s mating rituals! I moved in closer as they rewarded me with their songs!
Using a monopod, a photographer enjoys the flexibility to quickly move position for a more advantageous background—so I moved closer still! I lifted my camera up to my face, and let the motor drive whir away. Soon, I would be regaling fellow birders a remarkable tale over Earl’s Tea and dipping biscuits!
The attack came suddenly and without a clue. Well, perhaps
their were many, many clues. Wiki facts told me I was lucky to have escaped with limbs intact.
Just a few miles south, PGA Tour players had been nipped on 16th fairway at Palm Beach Garden’s Honda Classic Championship!
In my home state, dozens of tourists, baby strollers and park sitters had been marked for life with bird phobia.
A classic You Tube clip featured a Miami videographer who thought correctly that an animal selfie would make him famous on the Internet. He succeeded beyond his dreams.
Today was a day I learned much about birding and photography.
I came home with the final headline for my story:
ASK STRAINGERS BEFORE TAKING PHOTOS
Egyptian Geese are not your friends.
Peaceful reflections in the South Florida wilderness.