The Reptilian Interloper

Animalstuffstore anhinga-6663- The Reptilian Interloper Bird

I might say it was simply one other mundane morning on the remedy ponds in SW Tobago – however this wouldn’t be true regardless of how handy the framing can be to set the stage for this submit. A number of migratory species have been round – I’ll contact on these in a subsequent submit – however all was quiet and calm nonetheless.

Geese and grebes paddled round, Anhingas swam beneath the floor, often showing with a skewered fish. A Black Skimmer drifted from one finish of the pond to the opposite, oftentimes coming into such proximity that the swishing of its feathers was audible. I had been visiting the ponds for the geese, however stayed for the final atmosphere.

An Anhinga tosses her freshly caught breakfast.

Animalstuffstore black-skimmer-6811 The Reptilian Interloper Bird

Black Skimmer

Animalstuffstore least-grebe-6779- The Reptilian Interloper Bird

Two immature Least Grebes strategy an grownup, asking kindly for a snack.

After about an hour, I observed an unfamiliar presence: a Spectacled Caiman! These small crocodilians pose no menace to people, however I had by no means earlier than seen one in these ponds. Positive sufficient, I puzzled about their presence as there was ample meals out there – fish and aquatic invertebrates – however hadn’t seen one up till this specific morning.

Because the caiman blinked its eyes and lay immobile within the water, it grew to become obvious that I wasn’t the one one stunned by its presence. A Least Grebe started a tentative strategy, its brilliant yellow eyes affixed on the caiman. Slowly, it acquired nearer. And nearer. Was it going to waltz into turning into breakfast?

Animalstuffstore least-grebe-and-spectacled-caiman-6822 The Reptilian Interloper Bird

Possibly the grebe had by no means seen a Spectacled Caiman earlier than? Maybe the chook was attempting to get a more in-depth view, in order to reference the photographs of potential threats it realized as a younger chook? Oh, how the stuff you study at school very quickly vaporize as soon as maturity units in…

My evaluation of the scenario was that the grebe made a really ideal-sized meal for the caiman. It appeared as if it was virtually the proper dimension. As I used to be pondering this, making the calculations of caiman jaw dimension versus grebe roundness – the chook instantly panicked, as people do after they stumble upon one thing unfamiliar in the dead of night.

Animalstuffstore least-grebe-and-spectacled-caiman-6828 The Reptilian Interloper Bird

As comical because it was, the caiman didn’t appear too amused by the entire thing, and started to lazily swim off towards the opposite finish of the pond. Which attracted extra consideration from the twenty-or-so Least Grebes within the pond. Adults and juveniles all surrounded the beast, whereas preserving a decent distance.

Animalstuffstore least-grebe-and-spectacled-caiman-6829 The Reptilian Interloper Bird

Ultimately the caiman disappeared and equilibrium was restored. I spoke with another birders who additionally remarked on seeing the caiman for the primary time. Did I witness the initiation of the caiman into life on this remedy pond? I’ve seen the species talked about right here fortunately coexisting elsewhere, so I didn’t count on curiosity from both celebration. However nature continues to emphasise the purpose that species will not be people.

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