It ain’t over ’til it’s over……

July 15, 2015

……said the scrappy crawdad as it tried to escape the mandibles of a yellow-crowned night-heron in St. Louis’ Forest Park.

It had been a long time since I’d visited Forest Park in search of urban wildlife so I decided this would be a good week for it with all the hot weather. I made it to the park about thirty minutes before sunrise each morning and set up in some of my favorite hides, all of which had one thing in common—close proximity to water! I was hoping to find some members of a mink family I’ve photographed in the park for several years but I had no luck. My best images from the week came from a yellow-crowned night-heron hunting crayfish, the preferred prey of that species.

The catchy title this week, no pun intended, sprung from my observation that every crawdad fights for survival until the final gulp. As you can see from the featured image, a bit of “bill grabbing” is often the case and, believe it or not, about one out of ten crawdads escapes its captor and returns safely to the water. I enjoy the stunned look on a heron’s face when it loses a crawdad and vainly tries to retrieve it from the drop point.

If you look closely at the crown stripe of the featured heron, you might be able to see the slightest tinge of yellow adjacent to its bill. This is where the bird’s name comes from. I think I could have conceived a better name for this species than “yellow-crowned” but nobody asked me.



Although I was looking for action shots this week, I was happy to get this image of a yellow-crowned night-heron as it doubled back behind me to find a new hunting spot. I swung my lens 180 degrees right into the sun, overexposed by a stop, and clicked the shutter. I was pleased when I saw the colorful image on my LCD. I barely touched it in post-processing other than sliding the brightness up a click or two. As I always say, “Mother Nature is the best processor of images!”

Thanks for looking,


Email:  Natureframes@Rocketmail.Com

Gallery of Images/Info on Prints:  Here


8 comments on “It ain’t over ’til it’s over……”

  1. I have often thought of asking you, “How do you choose that one image out of several dozens, especially when you shoot in burst mode, for your blog?” But this time…I guess this one took the cake ….and the shrimp. This reminds me of the optimist who falls from the 40th floor, and at the 30th, says, “Well, I’m still OK..”

    And I agree with you about this bird’s name They should’ve asked you. If that is a crown, I am the Queen of England!

    • You always crack me up, Deepa. I rarely shoot in burst and when I do, I use the slow setting on my camera which is only about 6 fps. It is a natural thing for me to choose the best of the best to show off on here or send to magazines. People grow tired of looking at 20 of virtually the same photo on all the different outlets so I’m careful only to share the one that speaks to me the most.

  2. Thank you for the chuckle.

  3. I’m continually amazed!

  4. What a GREAT shot. That’s one for the crawdad. I loved it.


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