Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Just Eat It, Already!


This Great Blue Heron was standing at the edge of the lake and spent 20 minutes staring at the bank. At least, from my vantage point, I thought he was staring at the bank. I saw one grab a vole out of the dirt one time and thought this one was watching a vole or maybe a snake. After a long wait, the heron finally struck and came up with a small fish. I have to be honest, I was hoping for a little more, but in the animal world, food is food.

Instead of swallowing it immediately as they often do, this heron would start to swallow the fish and then drop it and catch it and drop it and catch it. I thought the fish was a goner several times, but it would come back out. Finally, after a few minutes of this, the heron decided it was good enough and swallowed it.

It was tricky shooting because it was early morning and the heron was standing under some trees which made for a combination of shadows and bright light. As the heron moved in and out of the light, the exposure was constantly changing. The entire sequence would be way too long to post, so these are just some highlights.











55 comments:

Saun said...

He's waiting for you to leave :) as usual great shots!

Kerri said...

Oh WOW! Great series ...... I guess his Mama didn't tell him to chew his food :)

Carole M. said...

you knock me out with your photos Brian! Are you in full view for this heron to see you photographing it...or hiding somehow? One would think you're right up there in front of it and it is just posing especially for you. I know it wasn't that easy though and that you've no doubt spent a lot of time and patience getting these shots; they're excellent.

Amy Burzese said...

You met the challenge! I believe he was just showing off his skill in fishing.

Tezzie said...

You are the master! And, apparently there was a Blue Heron in a playful mood that morning... ;) I loooove the texture of the water in that second photo, btw!

Linda said...

Obviously his mom didn't tell him not to play with his food! Great shots...definitely worth the wait!

Grandma Barb's This and That said...

Wonderful series of photos! He was more playful than he was hungry that morning . Love the water in the second shot and the one with his mouth open.

Beth said...

Your photos are always a delight. Great series.

Deb said...

I guess his Momma never told him it's not good manners to play with your food....glad you were so patient...nice photos...

Marc Heath said...

Great series, well caught, literally!

TexWisGirl said...

just awesome. yes, the water, color and light in the 2nd is wonderful, but the portrait in the 3rd is fabulous - even if it is not as 'lit' as some of the other shots. i like his tongue that you caught in the last. :)

poor little fish. no quick death for him!

Sharon M said...

I love these photos! "Don't play with your food - eat it!"

Pamela Gordon said...

Going, going, Gone! These are great shots. You are a very patient photographer!

Debbie said...

tricky for who?? not you, these are amazing!!

i am posting herons today, if i ever get my $h#* together. they are shameful compared to yours!!

Jan n Jer said...

Looks like this fella was having a little fun with the fishy before eating it. Great shots Brian...tells a story!

Andrew said...

Wonderful shots Brian... it's fantastic to see the catch.

Faye said...

Bet the fish was thinking the same thing after a bit--just get it over with. I am such a fan of your "pure" photography,Brian. Think you must be a very patient guy.

Gail Dixon (Louisiana Belle) said...

This is truly impressive! I hate when the light is constantly changing, especially now that I'm strictly on manual. You managed your settings very well. I've never heard or seen a GBH that played with his catch before eating it, but what a great photo opp for you. Awesome shot. Simply amazing!

Nette Cecilia said...

Great shots ,Nette

Findlay Wilde said...

He's lucky he didn't lose it. From Findlay

Beth Edwards said...

great close ups. looks like such a tiny fish. but so perfect for the heron. (:

Adam Jones said...

Superb close up shots. Really great.

Dina said...

Maybe he was waiting for the fish to die so it wouldn't flop around in it's stomach. Great shots!

mick said...

A great series of photos with beautiful detail.

NewMexiKen said...

Guess he doesn't want that fish swimming around in his stomach!

Leenie said...

You made that camera really work for you. The times I've watched herons they take their capture down in less than a second. Fun to see nature in all it's quirkyness.

Liam said...

Wow! Really good photos! :):):)

HOOTIN ANNI said...

I could spend hours watching herons. Just the other day I spotted one that had a fish as it flew above me [to quick for me to arm myself with the camera tho while flying overhead] with a fish in its mouth....a HUGE fish, nearly too big for him to consume...at least I thought. LOL

I especially like the very first photo Brian...that one is so comical yet such a fun pic.

Grandma C's Place said...

Wonderful photos!

eileeninmd said...

I guess some birds do not like being watched while they eat. Great shots!

Gary said...

Great series!! Boom & Gary of the Vermilon River, Canada.

bailey-road.com said...

What fabulous shots these are. Brian!

Carletta said...

A beautiful series Brian!
Poor little fish. ;)

Love the second shot - IF I had to pick a favorite!

Hanne Bente said...

WAU - where a beautiful series of images showing :)

Stewart M said...

Great set of shots! Just as I manage to post a decent bird of prey shot, you remind me of another sequence I have not got - heron + fish!

I'll have to keep trying!

Cheers and thanks for linking to WBW.

Stewart M - Australia

EG CameraGirl said...

I love how close you are able to get to herons! Amazing shots!

Red Nomad OZ said...

Haha! I thought only cats and children played with their food!! Is this the next step on the evolutionary scale??!!

Dina Lettre said...

Wowza....these are gamazing!

Evelyn S. said...

This is such a fabulous series of photos! I would never have known that the light wasn't optimal. (It's an ironic "joke" for me that I cannot photograph a blue heron. They are relatively common near the river here and even out in fields...but I can NEVER get close enough to photograph one.) Wonderful photos.

i stora drag said...

My compliment for those lovely photos! Amazing!
Greetings Pia

Lindsjö taxar said...

Wow.....what a beutiful serie. Good capture of the dinner :-)
We hunt roes from 1st Oct to end of Jan if its not to cold and to much snow. We let them loose and they search out for roes. You read the barking whats going on. THey are about 2-4 minutes after so the roes are not stressed. Often they stops and listen where the dog is.
The roes runs often around in a small area and we hunt them maybe 1-2 hours. We shoot with shotgun if we come not over 25 meters. Or the dog is tired and returns

Then we have tests and competitions like Tyra, shes a swedish and finnisch huntingchampion. I will go to Norway in Nov and hopefully she´s get the first price. Then shes a NOrdic hunting champion

Connie Smiley said...

Wow! Stunning series, Brian! So glad that bird took its time eating, so you could show us all these beauties.

Hilke Breder said...

Nice sequence of shots, Brian!! I wonder whether that was a young heron playing with the fish, still learning to catch it?

Mary said...

Oh my, that wild bird capture pic is so great. I love seeing every little whisp of feather..ever eye of the fish.

MarkStoryJenks said...

If you notice the spines on the Dorsal Fin of the fish, in the second photo, you'll see why the Heron was in no hurry to gulp it down too fast. The bird was smart and experenced enough to wear the fish out. At least to a point where those spines wouldn't hurt or possibly even puncture the birds innards.
Great pictures, Brian! Wish I had you're talent, and equipment in my hands.

Marie said...

Amazing shots! I too am surprised he didn't eat it right away! But that sure was lucky for you.

'Tsuki said...

Isn't it a sin, to play with food ?

;)

Bob Bushell said...

Brilliant images, I love the Heron, superb shooting.

Terri Buster said...

Playing with his food! Great shots Brian!

TheChieftess said...

You've got some great close ups Brian!!! Thanks for stopping by MammothLakesDP!!!

Rohrerbot said...

I definitely think that fish is dead:) Great shots!

Liz said...

Wow, Brian!! What a wonderful sequence. You must have quite an amazing series with all the others. Brilliant shots!!

Shaun Gibbs said...

An awesome set of photos Brian, the clarity and DOF on the second image is superb.

BlueShell said...

Indeed!
Great, fantastic photos...
Thanks for sharing your marvelous work. BShell

Audrey said...

magnifiques photos,mm si pauvre poisson ;o)