Tag Archives: food

Crow and Gull Combat

When in the wild, you have two options for food.  First, you can find and catch your own.  Second, you can find someone else that has already found and caught some food, and you can steal it from them.  The latter is way easier than the former, provided you have the ability to relieve the owner of their meal.  I was walking alongside the water at the locks in Ballard one weekend and a crow was attempting to help a gull lose weight by taking its meal.  What followed was quite some aerial ballet and they twisted and turned with the gull trying to make sure it kept a good hold on its food while maneuvering hard to prevent the crow from taking anything.  The gull was ultimately successful in this case.

Wasp Hunting Grilled Chicken

I was listening to an episode of The Infinite Monkey Cage that was discussing wasps versus bees.  As part of the conversation, one of the contributors mentioned that wasps like sweet things early in the season when they are feeding their young but, later in the year, they are only feeding themselves and they want protein (or the other way around if I have remembered incorrectly). I didn’t know anything about this before but then, shortly afterwards, we were sitting out on the deck after dinner and a wasp landed on a plate and then flew off with a chunk of chicken.  This chunk was almost as big as it was.

A week later, we were back out on the deck and, with dinner done, a wasp came back to check out the leftovers.  This time I was ready with my phone.  Sure enough, it landed on my plate, checked out a piece of corn and then homed in on some chicken.  A few bites later, it had extracted its meal and got airborne and away.  I had my video proof, so I was happy.  It came back for a second piece a little while later, so I guess it was storing food for later.

Gull’s Crab Lunch Under Threat

As we walked along the shore trail in Stanley Park, we came up on a gull that had just caught a crab.  The gull was intent on eating the crab, as well you might imagine.  However, its lunch had also caught the attention of a bunch of crows (could hardly call them a murder).  Consequently, the gull was trying to find a way to avoid the crows and eat its food.  It was not going to escape them, of course.  Instead, it had to do the best it could and accept that they were going to get a few scraps.


A Coot For Dinner

A few times recently I have been down at Juanita Bay Park when the eagles have been hunting.  While everyone thinks of bald eagles eating fish, they are also happy to eat birds if available.  We have had large flocks of coots on the lake and they are a plentiful food source.  They stay close together on the surface but, when the eagles fly close, the flocks will get startled and start fluttering around as they try to evade the predators.

The eagles are not bothered about the flock.  They just want to isolate one of the birds which they can then take out.  They will swoop around until they can take out one bird which they then land on top of and sit on it while it drowns.  Once it has stopped moving, they take off and carry it back to the pole in the bay where they can eat at their leisure.

Before you eat a coot, you need to pluck it.  The eagles make quick work of this and, with a breeze blowing, the air is quickly filled with feathers as they clean up their kill.  Once that is done, time to tuck in to dinner.  A coot is quickly eaten and then they fly off to a log to wash up before retiring to a tree to rest and digest.  If there is anything left of the carcass, you can guarantee that the crows will be paying close attention and will close in to take care of matters.


Borough Market Has Changed A Lot

When I worked in London, we used to go top Borough Market a lot.  Nancy would shop there sometimes and we would often go up at weekends.  Consequently, we were keen to go and see how it is now.  In some respects, it was very familiar but in others it had changed a lot.  The railway bridges over the market have been expanded in more recent times.  At one point, there was a suggestion that the market would go as a result of the railway changes but thankfully that has not been the case.

What does seem to have changed is the balance of the types of vendor that are there.  There were always plenty of places to buy food to eat straightaway.  However, I seem to recall a lot more vendors of meat, fish and produce.  There are certainly still a lot of these but now the balance seems to have shifted towards more of the immediate eating options.  I am not saying that this is a bad thing but it does feel like it has turned away from being a market towards being a tourist attraction.

Since we were tourists, I can’t have much ground for complaint about this.  I love looking around the market with its cast iron framing and the variety of stalls.  There are some great meat vendors present and a few fish stalls too.  We did have a guilty treat with some donuts and they were very good indeed.  I am obviously part of the reason it has evolved.  There is an old sign on the wall that lays out rents for the market.  I suspect this is a little out of date at this point.

Eagle Stealing A Snack

The eagles that live around Juanita Bay are busy hunters.  However, hunting requires a load of effort and it is surely easier to steal someone else’s meal.  An otter had caught a fish and climbed on to one of the buoys that mark the protected area of the bay to eat it.  As it got close to finishing, one of the eagles swooped in and grabbed the remainder of what it had.  The otter didn’t seem too bothered so maybe it had eaten the best of the meal and was okay to let the eagle take it without a fight.  The eagle went to the osprey perch and then ate whatever was left.

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!

Wolf Feeding Time

Trying to see the wolves at a zoo is not always an easy task.  They tend to like to find a place to relax that is out of sight so, unless they are active, you might struggle to even see them.  We got lucky on our last visit to Woodland Park Zoo as we came past the wolf enclosure (the second time as it happened) just at the time they were being fed.

I’m not certain what they were being fed but it looked like rodents of some sort.  They would toss the food to the wolves and they would grab something and then head off somewhere away from the others to eat in peace.  That included one that came our way.  It was making quick work of its snack.  The sound of the food being bitten through was slightly unnerving but, thankfully, the pictures don’t convey that so you only have to look at the outline of whatever it was they were eating!

Bears Tempted By the Fish

The Wild Bites food stands were scattered around the zoo.  One of the restaurants was serving a salmon dish.  They were set up right next to the bear enclosure.  The two brown bears in the enclosure seemed to be very interested in the food.  The smell of the fish was wafting in their direction and their noses were twitching like crazy.  They had been given their own food at the same time but I think that they were a lot more interested in our stuff than theirs.  I can’t say I blame them because it did taste great.

Kamakura Street Food and Shopping

A day trip to Kamakura was tagged on to the end of my visit to Japan.  It was a train ride of about an hour south of Tokyo to a coastal town.  We were heading there because of a large statue but that will get it’s own post in due course.  Coming out of the station, we are immediately on a narrow street that is filled with food and shopping.

Kamakura is known for little fish called shirasu.  They can be eaten raw or cooked and everywhere we went on this street, you could have shirasu added to your dish whether it was a hot dog or pizza.  I chose not to try it out.  Given the intense heat and humidity at this time of year, a lot of the food stands were devoted to ice cream and frozen foods.  Not a bad idea.  I wonder what they sell at cooler times of year.