The missus and I were strolling along the beach here in Gulf Shores at the Fort Morgan area looking for shorebirds when we happened onto this beach bunnie sunning themselves in the sand. Since we had previously read up on these critters in the south to be aware of whom they were we quickly realized that it was a Pit Viper, a Cottonmouth snake of the south. He was alive and seemed to be alert so we figured he was just resting. Thanks to telephoto lenses we were able to get some fairly good shot of him before detouring around to continue our journey. After we passed him we saw him slither into the bushes above the beach. However, when I got back to the room and downloaded the pics I noticed that he appeared to be injured, that there was a puncture mark on the side of his body bout halfway to his tail. It appears that it could be a talon mark left from a eagle, hawk or even possibly an osprey, all whom are seen overhead every day. I guess that whatever grabbed him soon realized exactly what he had and quickly dropped him on the beach. I know I would. We have seen a few of these snakes in our travels but this is the first time one was seen in the open where a photo was possible. One learns down here while birding that you make darn sure where yer putting your foot down, especially if you venture off the trails into the bush (something that I've been known to do more than occasionaly).
Ron and Linda Johnston
Sault Ste. Marie, Ontario, Canada
presently in Gulf Shores, Alabama