Egret versus mantis

I was talking about busman’s holidays previously.  My wife has a nice Canon digital stills camera, and she is always saying that I should get one too to take away on holiday. Case in point is what happened when we were walking through the grounds of a hotel in Egypt.  This bird was perched on a roof, not bothered at all by anyone passing by.  It was staring intently at a small shrub at the side of the path we were walking along.  Then it flew down to the path.

It stared at the bush for several minutes, and we stood there taking pictures of it.  After a while I went and had a look in the bush myself, but could see nothing of interest.  Suddenly the egret lunged at the bush and came out with a large mantis.

It was quite a battle, and we decided that an insect this large was too much for the bird to handle.  We were wrong on that score, and even though it took several minutes the egret managed to disable the mantis by shaking it vigorously until it was able to swallow the thing whole. As a bit of documentary wildlife photography it was a very interesting piece of behaviour, and I’d hazard a guess one that has not been witnessed too often.

So the moral of the story yet again, keep your camera to hand at all times if you want to get those unusual shots.. A wildlife cameraman should know better, but in my defence, I was on holiday.