Lizards for Breakfast

Florida's anoles, the pet store lizards that many of us owned as children, are abundant at our condo complex on Longboat Key.  They climb on the screens, scale the palms and lounge on the railings at the pool.  But their life in paradise is not without its dangers.

Yesterday morning, I watched as a great egret made his way along the bay side of our building, moving at a snail's pace and swaying his long neck and head, mimicking the movement of the foliage.  Every few steps, he stopped to survey the shrubs, patiently stalking his victims.  With lightning fast jabs, he would snare the hapless anoles, rarely missing his target; I watched as four of the lizards were swallowed whole, still squirming before disappearing down the long slide to the egret's stomach.

As ospreys fished on the bay and squadrons of brown pelicans passed overhead, the elegant hunter continued his calm, steady pursuit of the agile lizards.  For many, it would be their last morning in the bright Florida sun.