Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Fishing...Great Blue Heron Style II

Normally, when I watch herons fishing they're standing in the water waiting or slowly wading and catching fish in the immediate vicinity. This heron did something a bit different that caught me by surprise. He was standing quietly on a stump in the lake when suddenly he flew off. I assumed he was moving to a different location, so I began clicking the shutter. 

As you'll see in the photos, I was standing next to a dead tree as he flew by. The tree was in the way of my shots and I had to move to the left of it to continue shooting. As I cleared the tree, I saw the heron in the lake with a sizable fish in his bill. Evidently, the heron had spotted this fish from his perch some 30 yards away and made his attack from the air. Because I was blocked by the tree, I missed the actual catch, but continued shooting as he finished his meal.

Friday, December 23, 2011

Tuesday, December 20, 2011

Vole. It's What's For Dinner

This is something of a first for me. Of the few thousand photos I've taken of the herons on a nearby lake, I've only seen them catching and eating fish. I know they will eat other things, but I've never given it a second thought with these herons because I've only witnessed them eating fish. 

On this particular day, I photographed one of the herons catching and eating a vole. And he did it from the water. He was standing next to a high bank along the shoreline, but instead of facing out toward the water, he kept staring at the bank. He did this for quite some time and I couldn't figure out what he was doing. It was only when he made that quick heron strike that I realized he had been hunting something other than fish. If I hadn't been paying attention, I would have missed the whole thing.

I didn't know exactly what kind of rodent he'd caught until I got home and downloaded the photos. I'm 99.9% sure it was a vole. It wasn't a mole or a mouse, although voles are sometimes referred to as field mice. I compared photos from the Internet and I'm pretty sure I've identified it correctly as a vole. At any rate, it was an exciting moment and I'm glad I was watching closely.

The vole had dirt and debris on it from the muddy bank where the heron grabbed it. Since herons are quite majestic birds and would never consider eating a dirty meal, this heron dunked the vole not once, not twice, but three times in the lake before eating it. It's good to know they have standards.

And here is a close-up of the hunter and his prey.

Sunday, December 18, 2011

Let's Get Random...

Let's get gnarly instead

Waterfowl crossing

Lunch time

Barbed wire remnants

The eye of the Maine Coon

Early morning frost line on a foot bridge

Colorful wood

Rattlesnake under glass

Let's hover

The tree king

You've been half-mooned

Get bent

Early morning dive bomb

If you'll excuse me, it's time to feed the dog