|Well.... I had a little excitement today......
While driving back to the AF base, I passed this very large culvert that resembles a swamp.... as I always do.... But today was a bit different. This time, there was a grey heron in it that looked really, really odd as I zoomed by. Thinking that it was injured or something, I pulled over to the side of the road and got out to see what the deal was. As it turns out, it wasn't injured..... Instead, the heron was actually crouched down on it's "heels," rocking back and forth as it stalked amphibians along an extremely muddy bank..... Fantastic I tell you!!!...... It eerily reminded me of Bird's Paluxy River trackway. I stood there for about 30 minutes watching this bird swagger back and forth along the bank on its heels, snapping up frogs and tadpoles with the usual lightening fast strikes with his head and neck. After he stood back up and walked onto firmer ground and away from me, I went to take a look at the prints... As it turns out, the mud was very watery, and the bir! d ! ! had actually sunk in a great deal, engulfing his entire feet, making him have to kinda flap after it stood up in order to get out of it and walk away in the usual birdie manner. So, playing the game of weight distribution and snowshoes, when he was hunting on the mud flat, the guy had assumed a stalking crouch and walked tilted back on his heels instead, keeping himself from sinking. Also, I took a peek at the optic environment he was having to deal with, and with the sun in the position in the sky that it was in, getting lower to the ground at the angle the stalking crouch put him in made it much easier for him to see into the water, eliminating glare and probably hiding his shape a bit against the semi-tall grasses along the bank... His entire body was below the grass height when he was crouched and stalking. By the way, a really weird thing I also noticed was that when the heron was stalking, he extended the feathers on the back of his head straight up.... like he was try! in! ! g to distort his head shape and make it look like the grass to colorblind amphibians.
Now.... the coolest part about this is that the prints he made had no toes......... Instead, all you see are these perfect elongated impressions with just a hint of where the toes should be.... just like those you find at Paluxy. (Though, apparently, not sinking into the mud was not what the "Acrocanthosaurus"? was interested in.... Lowering his height as the heron did was probably the thing on his mind at the time.)
All I can say is that if you wanted to get an idea of what a stalking theropod looked like against a tree line, this stalking heron was something everyone should have seen. Still gives me goose bumps...... no pun intended :-)
As for the "Car Wreck" part in my subject line...... When I was crawling out of the culvert to get into my car, some crazy Mississippi hillbilly in a pickup truck (no offense to those of you that are crazy hillbillies with pickup trunks), flying along at well over 80 mph, took his car over halfway off the road and almost took out both me and my car..... It's the little, fleeting moments in life that makes living interesting.......