But the anhinga bird we were staring at in the bushes looked, if anything, worse. Moments before, it had plummeted through the air like a feather-duster bomb, snaky neck pointed downward. Landing in the slough with a messy splash, it emerged with a fish, and instantly gulped it down. Now the bird was clinging to a branch a few inches above a napping alligator, shaking out its pompom of black feathers. It unpleated the full span of its wings in slow motion — crick, crick, crick — then, lapsing into a frozen posture, hung itself out to dry.
Apparently it was not only normal to look ridiculous in southern Florida; it was required.
That anhinga sighting occurred on my first trip to the Miami area in 1991. Whenever I go back — I’ve returned a dozen