We know animals eat, some eat plants and some eat other animals. To witness predation however – no matter how small or large the scale – is always a fascinating few seconds. You’re witnessing life being snuffed out (sometimes rather cruelly) to provide life for another creature. Over the carnival weekend I was making attempts to photograph Black-crested Antshrikes at a known hotspot for these odd looking birds, but luck was not kind to me that day. Although close by, they never ventured out into the open. It was almost as if they knew how the image would look through my viewfinder, and they just wanted to keep the joke going for as long as possible.
Eventually, my patience was rewarded somewhat. A male Black-crested Antshrike flew in and grabbed a fat, juicy caterpillar from a nearby branch, and to my utter disbelief, hopped onto an open branch. Well, apart from the fact that behind the branch was blazing sky – this was the best situation I could’ve hoped for.
He turned around, flattened his crest, and began to systematically bludgeon this caterpillar against the branch.
Ever wondered what’s inside a caterpillar? It’s green, whatever it is. Make sure and view these images large to see the flying droplets of innards.
Satisfied that its quarry was indeed gone to the great beyond, he paused for a split second before disappearing in the thick mangrove to enjoy his meal.
Photography was a grim prospect that morning, and to top it off I had a pair of White-winged Becards calling frustratingly from both sides of the track. My only views were of them flying from one thicket to another. Fortunately, I was able to snag a decent enough view of the broad mouthed male.
A Yellow-breasted Flycatcher gathering nesting material seemed to feel a little sorry for me and sat very cooperatively at eye level.