Wednesday, June 4, 2008

An amazing appetite

Here is a quick but I think amazing series of photos I took today. Over the past few months I have seen this same bird pull off this same stunning feat. This was the first time I could get a clear set pictures.

As I approached the dam today I could see this Great Blue Heron flying along side my car headed to the same place. We both got there at the same time and the heron landed facing away from me, this gave me the chance to get into position to take these photos.

The heron landed on the middle of the dam and slowly walked to it's favorite location.

Here is the spot. Fresh water is spilling from the right to the left. The dam is sixteen feet high and the water is moving very fast.

It only took a minute for this heron to score this impressive salmon!

The salmon did not just give up. It fought with all of it's might to wiggle out of the herons bill. It was amazing to see, the heron must have a vise like grip to keep this powerful fish from simply slipping away.

The heron wasted no time in repositioning the fish to be swallowed. It moved the body along through it's bill to get the head pointed down it's throat.

Once the head was in the right position it was all over for the fish.

Like magic it was gone.

A couple of gulps and a little adjustment of the gullet and the salmon went down wiggling the whole time. With a meal that big I wonder how many fish that big the heron can eat in a day? A week? Over a life time?

Human fishermen often take offense to the numbers of fish that are eaten by birds such as eagles, herons, mergansers and cormorants. When they see a sight such as this can you blame them for being upset? Everybody's got to eat something. We have choices other than fish, for us it is sport. For them it is daily life, not an option.

I do not fish any more.
They have a hard enough time without me out there messing with their day.

I find it simply amazing this bird could catch and control a fish as large as this one. Like I said, I have seen the heron do it before and I am sure I will see it again. The heron is predictable and obviously there is something in the water that draws these fish to their doom day after day, week after week, year after year.

1 comment:

Unknown said...

Nice photos showing the sequence of hunt by the Heron. Also the tide was low last Wednesday and I was able to see the Osprey nest on the east side of the bridge just like you told me. The swan is still hanging around. Saw two eagles sitting on the branches of the floating tree branch in the creek.