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People from home often ask us if we are nervous going to Mexico because of all the crime and murders.  Clearly people don’t check the crime statistics.  We feel more comfortable walking around Puerto Vallarta in the evening than we do back in Winnipeg – or any US or Canadian city – or in the UK come to that.

But this week we witnessed a day-light robbery, carried out mercilessly and in front of witnesses.  Mind you the witnesses were mainly Coots – I’m not sure if they were old ones or not.

Here’s what happened.  We were watching an Anhinga fishing from the bank of a small lake on the golf course.  This is the golf course that has some lovely extra-large crocodiles often seen sunbathing by the water hazards.

What’s an Anhinga? I hear you ask – it’s a swimming bird related to the Cormorants.  It has a longer neck and apparently has a buoyancy issue with its feathers.

Here is a long, long shot of an Anhinga that was too far away to capture well.  But it will give you a feel for these beauties.

Here is an Anhinga sitting a favourite log, watching for fish

Here is an Anhinga sitting on a favourite log, watching for fish

Now it has spotted something that could be good for lunch

Now it has spotted something that could be good for lunch

This Anhinga likes to try and catch the fish without having to actually go right into the water - but is rarely successful.

This Anhinga likes to try to catch the fish without having to go right into the water – but is rarely successful.

Now back to the robbery.  One afternoon last week, we were standing by this spot watching the Anhinga, some American Coots, a Great Egret, Black Iguanas and the endangered Green Iguanas.

The Anhinga went fishing, eventually submerging its whole body under the water and swimming below the surface.  They can stay under the water for a very long time.

We saw the Great Egret, almost twice the size of the Anhinga, stalk across to the edge of the water, making the long-necked posture of an Egret/Heron about to strike, when its head flashed down under the water and grabbed something, something big.  It was the Anhinga!  The Egret pulled the Anhinga right up out of the water by the beak/bill and then snatched the fish away.  The Anhinga just stood there looking stunned – in shock.  You could see it thinking “It all happened so fast, and there’s never a cop about when you need one”.

The Great Egret swallowed its ill-gotten gains and stalked about looking like the Boss. The Anhinga decided to move on and began to look for fish on the other side of the lake.

We’ve seen Terns steal or try to steal fish from the Pelicans when they throw them in the air to get the heads facing down – but never have we seen a mugging like this!

I’ll try to get a photograph of the Great Egret in the next while so you can put its photo up in the Post Office.

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