Stickleback Snacks

It is possible to spend a lot of time watching a heron hunting without seeing anything happen.  Their ability to stay still for extended periods of time awaiting prey is impressive.  You hope you will get some catch at some point and that it won’t happen behind something that stops you getting a shot.  One of the herons in Juanita Bay was having some good luck catching sticklebacks.  The only problem was that it would often get other debris at the same time.

After the strike, the bill would have a fish wriggling around in it and some leaves or twigs alongside.  The trick was how to release the surplus material to allow the fish to be eaten without giving the fish a chance to head for freedom.  Clearly this is a regular feature of a heron’s life and the technique has been practiced but I watched with anticipation as it got rid of what it didn’t need and allowed the fish to be swallowed.  The stills don’t give you much idea of how much wriggling was still going on as the fish went down the throat!

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