More than just hot sauce!
While in Louisiana we made a trip to Avery Island. Home of Tabasco brand hot sauces, but the salt dome is also well known in the area as a birding hotspot. We stopped at the "Bird Island" rookery. An amazing bit of engineering, these table like platforms were built to allow Herons & Egrets spaces to build nests. It wasn't perhaps the most "natural-looking" rookery I'd ever seen, but the Great Egrets sure didn't seem to mind. They built their nests side by side covering every inch of available space on these long platforms.
While at the overlook, we were entertained by a family of Common Moorhens. We watched as an attentive adult fed each of the 6 chicks in turn. Before long though the serene scene turned more dramatic marked by the sharp staccato notes from one of the adults.
It didn't take long to spot the source of the Moorhen's alarm. A 7 foot long gator was lounging in the shadows doing it's best to remain as hidden as possible. Just after this image was digiscoped, the gator lunged and snapped at the adult, causing the adults and youngsters to scamper into the reeds. This gator knew the drill though and before long the staccato notes were repeated followed by a large splash and snap! While it is unclear what exactly happened in those weeds I can say definitively that both adults emerged in a hurry with 4 chicks on tow. We continued to watch as the gator stealthily crept past breaks in the weeds, if the other chicks were in there we didn't see them, much to the dismay of some in our group. Real life drama in the land of hot sauce!