Swan Lake in Rockefeller Park looks so beautiful and serene throughout the year. Life on the lake usually appears to be calm and peaceful. Of course, that isn’t always the case whenever it comes to nature and wildlife. In nature, there are battles between rivals fighting over territory and mates. Animals are either the prey, the predator or both. These dramas take place throughout the day.
As a wildlife photographer, I seek to capture the beauty and the action that can be found in observing animal life. Sometimes I really get lucky. On one occasion, I was extremely lucky and witnessed a battle between a Double-crested Cormorant and a large fresh water eel. I almost always have a camera with me, so I was able to photograph the action.
I was surprised to see a fresh water eel in the lake. I did not know there were any there. More surprising was the size of the eel. We have many Cormorants that fish in Swan Lake during spring and summer. They frequently can be seen stretching out and drying their wings while perched on branches. They swim across the lake and dive for fish. If you are lucky, you might even see one with a fish in its mouth after resurfacing from the depths of the lake. I have photographed Cormorants fishing, but I have never seen anything like this before.
The Cormorant attacked the eel, but the eel fought back. The battle lasted for about half an hour. During that time, I was able to get well over 200 photographs. At one point the eel wrapped itself around the neck of the Cormorant. But nevertheless, the Cormorant won and swallowed the eel whole like it was a giant strand of spaghetti. Here are some photographs I took of the Double-crested Cormorant fighting with that gigantic eel.
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