The day is drawing to a close. The sun inching closer to the horizon. Birds are flocking back to the trees surrounding the lake. Flocks of Mallards, Teals and Moorhens are swimming gracefully in the still waters. The lake’s resident Pelicans are out feeding too – swimming in semi-circular formations to herd fish and diving in sync to pluck out any unlucky fish caught in their trap.
There is a splash and one of the Pelicans steers away from the group. From our vantage point, we can clearly make out that he has caught something big. The rest of the group are not going to let the fellow get away with such rich spoils and make their way after him.
1800 hrs – A furious battle is underway – wing against wing, mandible against mandible. It’s three against one and our man virtually has his neck caught in the beak of his attacker. He continues to fight and hold on. It is summer, the water levels in the lake are precariously low. Such catches are hard to come by, so the fight is worth it.
1805 hrs But it isn’t the only battle that he is fighting. Caught in its pouch is a huge catfish and it has no intention of becoming anyone’s meal. The fish, at least a foot long is thrashing about wildly in the pouch and thwarting any effort made by the Pelican to swallow it.
1807 hrs – It has been more than ten minutes that the Pelican bagged the Catfish, but the battle continues to rage. Every time the Pelican tries to swallow the fish, it curls up making it impossible for the bird to gulp it down. There are going to be no free meals.
1815 hrs: No one has given up. The Pelican is trying every trick in the book to swallow its fat catch. And the fat catch is trying every trick it knows to stay alive. The unlucky ones are in hot pursuit, not having given the hope of stealing a meal.
1818 hrs : Things are getting desperate. The attacks continue from every side, the fish battling away as well. But the doughty fellow is beating every attack. He is tougher than we thought, but surely he must be weary. Something has got to give!
1820 hrs : For a second, the attackers pause. That is all the opportunity that is needed. Our chap makes a might effort to steer clear of his pursuers and in the same move takes a mighty gulp. Success at last! The fish and the marauders have been defeated.
1821 hrs : The battle over, the victorious Pelican flaps his enormous wings in style while the rest are left to lick their wounds and get back to finding a square meal for themselves. Mother Nature has just taken 25 minutes to teach us the meaning of ‘Survival of the Fittest.’