It all started when I read an article about all the amazing birds at Santee Lakes…
right then I decided I had to visit.
And let me tell you, when I get an idea, I do everything I can to put it in action…
so I grabbed my partner in crime, Wendy (who is ALWAYS up for an adventure)
and we headed out with cameras in tow.
While walking around, we soon noticed that some of the coots (second photo) were getting mean
and territorial – and they would chase away everyone else.
To the point of swimming over just to be mean:
So I named him Godzilla.
(No that doesn’t make any sense, but I did it anyway)
This was the Godzilla POSE:
**cue the Jaw’s Theme Song…da dum..da dum…
and yes I know that isn’t the Godzilla theme, but work with me here folks
Once we noticed the threatening posture, we started predicting where he would strike next….
Well that entertained us for a while….yes, we entertain easily….
Then we noticed that this guy just said ‘to heck with it I’m going on dry land….’
…and that reminded us there were more birds to see, so we continued our walk.
We saw so many different kinds of ducks – like this pair of mallards (cute couple, don’t you think?)
And a cormorant – drying off his wing feathers…
And the most amazing and regal heron:
But to be honest, other than just being with my pal Wendy,
the most fun of the day was watching Godzilla.
And I’m ready to go back so if anyone is interested in meeting us there one morning for a walk around the lake and some photography – let me know — we could do a little meet up!
American Coots are noted for many qualities, some considerably less redeeming than others. Conspicuous, noisy, and aggressively territorial, they select from a repertoire of some 14 displays to communicate among themselves. To signal their social intentions coots vary body postures, adjust the position of the white undertail coverts, alter the degree to which they arch the wings over the back, change the angle of erect neck feathers and swell the frontal “nose” shield.
Many coot displays are associated with strident, year-long territorial defense. Generally, it is the male that confronts perceived threats. When the male partner is absent however, the female becomes demonstrative, reacting first to intruding females before confronting intruding males. When an intruder appears, the resident approaches it by modifying its normal slow paddling into a hastened patrol swim and then makes a wake-forming charge that may end in a splattering, rapid run across the surface. Such confrontations may lead to combat. While fighting, a coot usually sits back on the water and grabs its opponent with one long-clawed foot while attempting to slap the contender with the free one and jab it with its bill. Apparently, the aim is to push the opponent onto its back and, in some cases, hold it underwater. Quite impressive, this sequence can be seen in coots four days old.
Not all displays directed toward unfamiliar coots are antagonistic, however. Coots communicate distress to each other by exposing their undertail coverts or display