Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw and Beak

January 7, 2014

Great blue heron swallowing a fish

Great blue heron swallowing a fish

Nature writer John Burroughs often talks about the rewards inherent in observing nature right where you are, watching the “procession pass” like a “revolving showcase.”  Even walking the same terrain yields unexpected gifts, exemplifying the old adage that you cannot step into the same river twice:

” . . . the place to observe nature is where you are; the walk to take to-day is the walk you took yesterday. . . . I shall probably never see another just such day as yesterday was, because one can never exactly repeat his observation, — cannot turn the leaf of life backward, — and because each day has characteristics of its own.”
— John Burroughs, from “A Sharp Lookout”

As I’ve been making my daily run around Green Lake, I’ve been keeping my eyes peeled for three resident herons.  Most often I see them standing stock still in the shallow lake’s edge, sometimes perched on a log or in a tree.  This was my first time seeing a great blue heron devouring its catch.  I found it a bit humorous to see that relatively big fish in the heron’s beak — were the heron’s eyes bigger than its stomach?  And then suddenly the scene took on an eerie feel — watching that fish move down the slender neck of the bird was like watching a snake swallow a mouse.  No fuss, no muss.  Over quickly.  My National Geographic moment.

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10 Responses to “Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw and Beak”

  1. shoreacres Says:

    Lucky heron! And what a lovely series of photos. I get to see such things with the cormorants on a fairly regular basis, but it’s rare to see a heron catch such a big one. It’s one reason they love to hang around fishermen. Now and then, they’ll have a human flip them a fish that isn’t big enough for a human table, but is just the right size for a heron lunch.

  2. mymartinez Says:

    AMAZING PHOTOGRAPH

    Sincerely, Michelle Martínez Kindergarten teacher Chicago

  3. Chris Says:

    Wow, great series of photos! One does not see that very often, if ever!

    • Rosemary Says:

      I was lucky I had my camera with me that day. I was hoping the frosty landscape would catch my eye. It did, but the wildlife was amazing, too.

  4. kittybluhm Says:

    Great photos! I’ve never seen herons eat like this!


  5. Your National Geographic moment indeed. Great photos.

  6. wilterryknoop@gmail.com Says:

    Wow. Nice photography! When are you going to visit Oregon?


  7. I love these photos! Watching birds in my yard is one of my life joys! I get to see such interesting things, like a male cardinal feeding a seed to his female partner. God made nature so great! If anyone wants to read more about God’s gifts to us, go to http://www.amazon.com or http://www.barnesandnoble.com and search “Beth Moore”. Until Jan 10, she is giving away free copies of several E-books Kindle or Nook. I always enjoy her books! I got a couple free ones for myself.

  8. Elisa Says:

    What an awesome catch for both of you!!


  9. Rosemary this is incredible…to see this beautiful bird feeding up close.


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