Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Wait for it, wait for it, and ... strike! The extraordinary patience shown by a heron before it pounces on a dragonfly


One of the dragonflies lands on the green heron's beak while all the while the bird keeps a close eye on them both

Patience is clearly also a virtue in the heron world as this specimen demonstrated before snatching its dinner.

The bird eyed up two of the insects as they danced before its beak before lashing out and one unawares.

The whole amazing sequence of the dragonflies dancing before the green heron was caught on camera.

And it was the bird, sat on a branch at Village Creek park in Texas, U.S., which had the last laugh.

My moment has come. The heron makes its move and the dragonflies rise up to flee. The one on the far right escapes, the other ...

Wildlife photographer Steve Wheeler, 53, who captured the dramatic moment, said: 'When I first spotted the heron I could see he was hunting, so I had my lens focused on him and my finger on the shutter release for quite a while.

'They are generally fairly secretive birds and stay well hidden in thick cover along the water's edge.

'I've only ever seen one very quickly a couple of times, so I was really excited even to get a close up look at this guy.

'Before I knew it, I these two, mating dragonflies came into the view finder, fluttering around together.

'They were obviously preoccupied because they flew closer and closer to the heron. It must have been a dream come true for the heron.

'He just opened up his beak and snatched one from right in front of him - he was lighting fast and deadly accurate.

No escape: The heron's moment has come and while it's toast for the dragonfly, it's dinner for the bird

Savouring its snack: Just part of the dragonfly's wing can be seen sticking out of the bird's beak

'As I was watching this little mini drama unfold, it felt like it took forever - time seemed to slow way down.

'It was only after I loaded the images on the computer that I realized the total elapsed time was only 43 seconds between "first strike" and "last gulp."

'It was crazy to see and photograph.'

source: dailymail

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