No Time to Spare

Top Photo: A male slaty skimmer waits for flying insects to pass by.

If you spend any time out in nature, you’ll no doubt see animals sitting around seemingly doing nothing. Perching, waiting, and sitting still is just part of life for many wild creatures. There’s usually a very good reason for the apparent idleness.

While some dragonflies spend a good portion of their day hunting on the wing, slaty skimmers, like the one pictured above, do their hunting from a perch, “sit and wait for something to come my way.

Aquatic turtles like the male yellow-bellied slider in the photo below may spend hours each day basking in the sun. It’s been suggested that basking is thermoregulatory in some aquatic species of turtle. It may also have to do with parasite and algae control.

However, there comes a time when it’s simply too hot and the risk of stewing in your own shell becomes too great to sit still for too long. This turtle was the only one out sunning during the hot afternoon when the photo was taken. Seconds after the photo, the turtle slid into the water.

Male slider basking to rid itself of parasites and or algae.

It seems green tree frogs spend most of the daylight hours sitting motionless on something green. It’s a good way to stay hidden while you wait for the night.

Green tree frog spends the day hiding out.

It’s all part of a red-shouldered hawk’s strategic plan to sit quietly in the woodland, especially near water as they hunt for frogs, snakes, small rodents and even crawfish. In fact, all of their hunting is from a perch. Patience is the key.

Immature red-shouldered hawk in the shadows.

This immature red-shouldered hawk was preening when I noticed it sitting quietly among a mimosa tree’s branches. I watched as it resumed hunting, glaring down at the water’s edge for the slightest movement.

With a keen eye for movement this hawk searches for prey.

Dissatisfied with the offerings, the hawk soon flew off to another perch to sit and hunt quietly there.

I too, often stand motionless at the edge of the wetlands, or on the path through Explore the Wild and Catch the Wind, to watch creatures like dragonflies, turtles, tree frogs, and red-shouldered hawks. It’s all in a day’s work.

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