Thursday, July 01, 2010

And it squirmed all the way down

A heron was fishing on our beach. He was so intent on his prey that he let me sneak up close, and crouch down behind a rock to take photos.

Here he is with one of the gunnels he had for lunch.


At the low tide line


"What do I see there?"




"Caught it!"


Very much alive. And flipping madly.


Flip


Flip


Flip

Between flips, the heron would shake the gunnel violently. I couldn't catch that; the action was too fast, just a blur.


Stunned?


No. It's flipping again.


"Whew! Almost lost it there!"


Getting a better grip. Flip!


Got it by the middle, now.


Sliding the fish up towards the mouth. Still twisting back and forth.


Gulp!


"Ahhhh! That was delicious!"

And he went back to his fishing. He caught three while we watched.

6 comments:

  1. That's a really nice series of shots. I love to watch herons hunt. Except when they're cleaning all the tadpoles out of my water garden.

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  2. I have seen herons fishing before, but never have I seen them catching! This is a wonderful series of photos!!!

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  3. Super series of the Great Blue Heron fishing Susannah! That last shot where the bird is all puffed up is my favorite. It looks like it just did the "get that down the gullet" shake!

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  4. wonderful series of photos! Thanks for sharing.

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  5. Amazing captures and blog here! So the heron was really able to gulp down three of those (all similar to this prey's size?) really?? I wonder, wouldn't the desperate prey stand any slim chance of escaping or even damaging (biting etc.) the bird's throat/stomach if eaten in that condition!? Hard to imagine the fish/eel would give in so easily as just another meal once inside!

    -Kyle

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  6. I doubt that there is any hope for the gunnel once it's swallowed. Herons eat many of these daily; the acid in the stomach probably stuns the fish pretty quickly.

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