Jordan Dam, Haw River: How does a great blue heron go about swallowing a fish that is bigger than his own head and throat? Remembering that birds are living dinosaurs and therefore closely related to reptiles, I think the birds work at relaxing the muscles of their jaw and throat until they can work their way around the fish. You will see several pauses while this fledgling heron goes utterly still – I think that is when he is resting and allowing his muscles to stretch. That’s my take on the situation. He also occasionally dips the fish back into the water to keep it wet and maintain its slipperiness. The whole episode took more than 10 minutes … I have put up only the last part of the heron’s work. As to the trash, I wish people were more careful about the environment and took their trash out with them.

 

Not One but TWO! Yes, two fish at the same time. One in each talon. The osprey tried hard to hold onto both fish, but, one got away; you can see the fish drop away. I believe this is a subadult male – about 2-years-old – and still without a mate. As strong and determined as he is, he probably won’t have trouble finding a suitable mate late next winter. WOW! Two at Once!!!

 

Kate was on a mission to feed her chicks this morning while dad Petruchio waited in the nest with their family.  She left her perch about 1000 feet from me and she was in a hurry.  From the time she passed me, caught the fish and went past me again, passing back towards the nest, the trip took her all of 20 seconds.  I watched Kate catch two more fish in the next 15 minutes.  Those chick(s) were well-fed this morning.

 

 

Jordan Lake: Black Friday the Gull Way…
Gulls often try to steal each other’s fish and this can lead to some spectacular aerobatics. There are 2 sequences. Keep your eye on the fish … that is what each gull is doing too. In the 1st sequence the gull with the fish is an immature ring-billed gull. The huge dark brown gull that eventually shows up is an immature herring gull. In the second part, the gull with the fish is a ring-billed gull and the fish, ah, well, sometimes the fish gets a second chance.