Franziska Speck knew she had to take photographs when a flock of Eastern curlews arrived on the beach at Oyster Point in Queensland, Australia. Because these big shorebirds are endangered, having the opportunity to observe and photograph them is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, especially as they are only present in Australia for a few months of the year.
“The Eastern curlew visits our mudflats and sandy beaches in the summer,” Speck explained in an interview.
The birds were in the midst of a feeding frenzy, with emphasis on the frenzy, so taking shots was a bit difficult. Speck gave it her all, crossing her fingers that she’d taken a few excellent images. As she looked through the images, she was thrilled to discover that the most of them were very decent — until she came across one that told a completely different narrative.
“About 50 to 60 birds were landing, and I simply shot numerous photographs, and when I reviewed the photos, I said, ‘Wow,'” Speck explained.
The photograph depicts an Eastern curlew with what seems to be two beaks, one in front and one in behind. It’s a quirky, eye-catching shot — and the product of some hilarious timing.
It appears that another bird had either landed or was passing through behind the bird in the shot, and Speck had snapped a photo when the second bird was precisely lined up behind the first, with only his beak visible. It’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity, and Speck couldn’t stop giggling when she saw it.
Of course, another possibility is that the weird bird in the snap has two beaks. We’ll never know for sure, I suppose.