Fine dining with a great blue heron

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  • Photos by DON BARTLING Now that is a big fish to swallow!

  • 1

    My eyes may be larger than my stomach!

  • 2

    Look out tummy here the fish comes!

  • Photos by DON BARTLING Now that is a big fish to swallow!

  • 1

    My eyes may be larger than my stomach!

  • 2

    Look out tummy here the fish comes!

It is Herman Melville who said, “We become sad in the first place because we have nothing stirring to do!”

Photography stirs me, wildlife photography gets me excited! Trying to capture the image of wildlife in its natural environment is a challenge. Showing the way birds’ feathers reflect in the sunlight and ruffle in the breeze is rewarding. I like to film the freedom of wild creatures and their independent beauty in their natural setting.

Just last week I came across a great blue heron in the canal by the second parking lot of the Kootenai Wildlife Refuge. He was standing on ice at the end of the canal and at his feet was a nearly 7 inch fish that he just speared with his stiletto-like bill. He looked at me as I was positioning and adjusting my 600 mm lens for my Nikon camera. His thought was to fly to safety from this intruder, but he did not want to leave his hearty meal.

The blue heron picked up the bullhead fish head first, hesitated and then with the expertise of a juggler he flipped it head first into his throat. He struggled a few seconds and then with difficulty he swallowed the fish whole inch by inch until it disappeared down his throat. Through the magnification of my zoom lens I could see the fish bulge in the blue heron’s gullet. He struggled for less than a minute with the fish in his throat, shifting from one foot to the other. Then he stretched out his neck as the fish found his stomach.

The blue heron, satisfied with his meal, sprung into the air, flying off with a raspy call of content.

Enjoy Boundary County and its wildlife!

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