How many large fish can there possibly be in the tiny man-made pond at Green Spring Gardens? That was my initial thought when I stumbled upon a Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias) intently focused on the water at one end of the pond. I crept as close as I could, acutely aware that I had a non-zooming macro lens on my camera, and watched and waited.
I was somewhat surprised when the heron finally made a strike and was amazed when it pulled out a large fish. Almost immediately, the heron headed for dry land, probably fearing that it might drop the fish into the water. Playing it safe proved to be a good choice for the heron subsequently did drop the fish onto the ground. I am not sure if it was an accidental drop or if it was an intentional maneuver to grab the fish, but the heron had no trouble retrieving the fish.
It took a little while for the heron to position the fish, but once the fish was in place, the heron swallowed the fish in a single gulp. The heron then stretched out its neck and I could almost watch as the fish made its way down the neck and into the heron’s stomach.
© Michael Q. Powell. All rights reserved.