Sunday, January 27, 2008

News Flash! Heron snatches prey!

I just witnessed the most amazing thing, right from my kitchen window, and rushed to the computer to record the moment while the memory was still fresh.

This heron is a regular visitor to our pond. This morning he sat atop the duck house for hours, his feathers "fluffed up" to insulate him from the cold. Later this afternoon I looked outside and saw that he had waded some distance into the water. I'd never seen him do that before, so out came the binoculars for a closer look.

He was moving: inching along, slowly lifting one spindly leg, and then the next. Suddenly his head splashed into the water. He looked so ungainly, it could well have been an accident. Then I saw the shimmer. He had snagged a fish, and a big one, too!

Now I'm no expert at fish identification, especially when it's flapping about in a heron's beak, but this appeared to be a bluegill about 6" in diameter. It was ginormous. The heron waded over to the edge of the pond and set the fish down. He picked it up and dropped it a couple more times. The next time he picked it up, he waded back into the water. Surely he wasn't going to release it?!

The heron stood in the water for a few minutes, the fish's body glinting in the afternoon sun. Then the heron slowly extended his neck, pointing his beak high in the air. The fish disappeared, all in one piece. The heron remained in the water for a while but didn't catch anything else.



Wendy said...

way cool, Laura!!!! Isn't nature fun? The most amazing thing I ever saw was a redtail hawk swoop straight out of the sky like a bullet toward the ground, and at the last second he swung his feet forward and put on the brakes, landing with incredibly force into the meadow...the next thing I saw was him winging back into the air with a gigantic snake in his talons! I was driving at the time and nearly drove off the road *laughs*

Wren said...

Heron are fun to watch - I really enjoy watching them stalk the prey. They have mastered amazing stillness.

Diane said...

how amazing to have watched that from your own home! I've seen a heron fishing and being successful before but we were on vacation and had time to simply watch and observe. What an amazing thing and to live where you can see such things!

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