Sunday, January 10, 2010

Up In The Air


The high temperature in my neck of the Florida woods today was in the forties. That's a regular heat wave over yesterday when it didn't get out of the thirties. But I couldn't live with the cabin fever, so I went outside in search of something to do. I decided to head up to Apollo Beach to see the manatees that seek shelter from the cold by congregating in the warm water discharged from the local power plant. Sure enough, there were hundreds of manatees being gawked at by hundreds of tourists. But that's not the interesting part. What was interesting to me were the other creatures looking for warmth in the water. And what was eating them. I kept seeing splashes in the canal that didn't look like manatees. Finally I realized it was fish jumping. And it was big fish. Two to three foot tarpon and snook were jumping out of the water, presumably in pursuit of a meal. And every once in a while, a spotted eagle ray would leap out as well, a completely unexpected sight. So I decided to try and photograph one of these fish up in the air. It took half an hour of pointing and waiting, but I finally got a ray up in the air. This is a detail of a much bigger picture, and it only lasted a second, but I got it. You can add this to the list of rare shots I've taken of things in the air that should be in the water. After I got these shots, I went back to the car and waited until I could feel my fingers again before leaving. We don't know how to dress for the cold here in Florida.

Looking closer at these shots, I'm pretty sure there's some sort of sucker-fish stuck on the rays head. You can see it on the right side of his head above.

4 comments:

dress up said...

Wow great shots! i've never seen a ray jump out of the water... then again i've never been to florida ;)

there is definitely some other fish on that ray...

Bill from Illinois said...

Really interesting shots, Ernie. I've read about the eagle ray's ability to breach, but have never seen a picture of one doing it. Thanks!

Darrin said...

wow. nice shot. while i have seen rays jump, i can not recall seing a pic of one.

Anonymous said...

Awesome! Your pics are great as always. Sandy