This is neither my best photograph of a tricolor heron, Egretta tricolor, nor my best photograph of an American alligator, Alligator mississippiensis — but it is my best photograph of the two caught together in the same frame on a lazy February afternoon.
Photographed on 11 February 2007 near the Sweetwater Strand of Big Cypress National Preserve, you can see the gator doing his own thing in the background, basking on a fallen cypress trunk. The tricolor heron is doing the same, albeit on a smaller branch and with a bit more vertical grace and posture. This, for me, is a classic south Florida winter scene: two animals, one often preying upon the other, basking in the mild Florida air in February.
This is another moment that benefited from a short lapse in cloud cover. Most of the day, as previously mentioned, was overcast and miserable in terms of light. Still, the sun did manage to break every now and then. No doubt the animals were as grateful and opportunistic as I was for these little intermittent bouts of direct sunshine.
Next? The dark angel of Florida…! heh.