Dethroned by a Fat Fish

admin All Authors, Chad 2 Comments

We’ve been travelling to Mabalingwe Nature Reserve for a few years and the highlight of each trip has been a pair of African Fish Eagles who reigned over the majority of the larger bodies of water in the area.

One cool winter’s evening I was lucky enough to witness this king of the African skies being brought down to size by a mere inland water fish, a bottom feeder of the animal kingdom.

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Canon 1D mkII, Canon 300mm f2.8L + 1.4x II

After watching the still water from his perch for a large portion of the evening, he locked onto his prey and swooped down to claim his prize.

A few seconds later he hit the water with fish in claw, ready to complete his mandatory take off to a nearby perch to reap the spoils.

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Canon 50D, Canon 300mm f2.8L + 1.4x II

To say his exit was less than graceful would be a huge understatement. Every time he tried to leave the muddy water, the large fish would pull him straight back in again and drag him further into the depths.

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Canon 50D, Canon 300mm f2.8L + 1.4x II

Using lily pads as leverage, he managed to drag the feisty fish onto shore where he had the upper-hand, all of which lasted around 25 minutes

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Canon 50D, Canon 300mm f2.8L + 1.4x II

Exhausted but triumphant, the eagle needed a few moments to recover from his ordeal.

In the end the fish may have won the battle but Africa’s finest won the war!

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Canon 50D, Canon 300mm f2.8L + 1.4x II

His meal was so heavy that he wasn’t able to retreat to the safety of a nearby branch with his prize, so I left him as he pecked away on the side of the muddy bank as the sun set over the surrounding mountains.

Wild Eye - Wildlife Photography

Canon 50D, Canon 300mm f2.8L + 1.4x II

Chad Wright

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Comments 2

  1. Mark Booysen

    Hey Chad, thanks for the intriguing post, the Fish Eagle most certainly met its match.
    This is exactly why I love NATURE, a perfect example of persistence and at the end of the day it is The Food Chain after all!
    Cheers
    Mark

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