Thoughts on the ocean, the environment, the universe and everything from nearly a mile high.

Panorama of The Grand Tetons From the top of Table Mountain, Wyoming © Alan Holyoak, 2011

Wednesday, September 12, 2012

Great Blue Heron - Now THAT'S fishing!

My dissertation advisor at UC Santa Cruz was Todd Newberry.  He is a marine biologist, and he is  also an avid birder.  He enjoys leading bird walks and loves it when people have what he calls "Audubon Moments".  This is when someone takes the time to be still and observe nature.

Last week I had a fantastic Audubon moment, well, actually nearly an hour, of watching and photographing a great blue heron as it worked its way along a river bank, fishing as it went.

Great Blue Herons (Ardea herodius) are among the largest birds in North America, often standing over four feet tall.  They are wading birds that eat fish, frogs, or whatever else can fit down their craw.

Anyway, my wife, daughter, and I went to Warm River, ID - one of our favorite day outings.  As we sat and relaxed, snacked and read at the Warm River Campground, I noticed a blue heron among the vegetation and rocks on the other side of the river.  It was slowly picking its way along the river's edge, standing, looking, fishing, and moving on.

Luckily (OK, it wasn't luck), I had my camera in hand and was able to grab some great shots of it fishing.

Here we it came around the back side of a boulder it stopped and looked...Whep!?  Is that a fish?

I better take a second look.  Yep, fish!  I'm going for it!

Yeah, baby!  Got it, but can I hang onto it?

It's a pretty big one...the dang thing could come back on me...I better give it a good shake!

That's enough shaking!  Now I've got shift it around and get this thing headed head-first down the old gullet.

That's better...

Hey, check it out...I really nailed this fish...put my lower bill right through its head!  Now THAT'S fishing!

Now to swallow this slippery if I can just flip it just the right way around...

Awesome!  First try!  Just like I planned it...

Hack, gnaw, whthreawght...

Check out this pose...and some people out there don't think I'm really a dinosaur!?

Big, that's a long way to swallow.

And I'm off...

This was a fantastic time.  I actually saw it catch a couple more fish, and a corn cob!?  Well at least it let the corn cob go.  Good call.  Now if it were a seagull it'd probably still be trying to hack down the corn cob just so another gull couldn't have it.

So there's one of my latest Audubon moments.

1 comment:

  1. IF that what you would see on your vacation, then it is just right that you take on a leave on your phd dissertation writing. And I think I know why your dissertation advisor became an avid birder. Just look how majestic and beautiful the great blue heron looks like.