A Little Mud Never Hurt Anybody!

Last week I was watching this great blue heron fishing in the salt marsh among the oyster beds when it suddenly struck hard at the water. It came up with a speared fish and the heron must’ve really pushed the fish down hard into the floor of the marsh when it struck because the fish, along with a good sized gash, had quite a bit of mud on it. Usually the great blues will rinse the mud off of a fresh caught fish before swallowing it…we have seen that many times. But this one must have been particularly hungry because he quickly knocked back the fish, mud and all! 

GBH with Muddy Fish

GBH with Muddy Fish

GBH with Muddy Fish

GBH with Muddy Fish

GBH with Muddy Fish

GBH with Muddy Fish

GBH with Muddy Fish

GBH with Muddy Fish

64 thoughts on “A Little Mud Never Hurt Anybody!

  1. And down the hatch it goes! Such enjoyment from looking at your photos. It’s like a vacation!

  2. Great shots, Phil! I’m amazed at how close you can get to these birds. It is a really tough game getting close to GBH and Snowy Egret here in Colorado. Cherry Creek is an easier place to get close than Chatfield, although Chatfield has more of the Great Blues. Excellent work, I always love your behavioral sequences. :)

    • I really appreciate you looking and commenting and I’m glad you enjoy the photos. Yes we are lucky that many of the birds we see in various locations seem quite accustomed to having people (like me) around. :-)

      • You are one lucky duck to have such comfortable birds! :) I can get close…but it usually ends up being a gritty, muddy, and eventually uncomfortable job.

        I really need to find some kind of “birders smock” or something…some kind of apron or maybe overalls, waterproof, that I can drape over my clothes so when I’m crawling through the sand, I’m not concurrently sliming myself up with muck. ;)

        Out of curiosity, what equipment do you use? Based on your profile image, I assume Canon (big white lens)…but I guess it could be anything. Do you haul around a nice big Great White…500mm? 600mm? Anyway, your shots are great, nice and clear. I love it when you can get nice, clear detail in a birds eye like you did with this heron.

        • Many of the birds like the large warders here are not at all skittish. There is one section of the marsh that is right next to the road and RVs, motorcycles, and all types of vehicles go on by and the birds often pay no attention.
          I do use Canon and just have a 300 f4 usually with a 1.4 extender attached to a 7D.

  3. This one seems to be the closest to explaining how they get the fish turned around and in position to swallow. Utterly amazing stuff, Phil!

  4. Definitely interesting. I guess I have never seen the fish in any other way than head in. Must be a reason for that. Maybe they swim down :)

      • Yes you must be right about the sharp fish fins; it is logical. Makes one wonder how they know..trial and error…instinct..do they automatically know they need to be eye to eye going down?

    • I believe this is an adult in breeding color Shelly. It still has some of the blue lores around it’s eye.
      This bird was also particularly colorful, he was real looker!

    • I’m glad to have you aboard once again. I too have had that happen with other’s blogs. Some I just never see anymore and always figured they no longer post but now I’m wondering…

    • He was quite close Emily but he paid no attention to me at all, just went about his business fishing. That’s the way I like it when they treat me as if I wasn’t there.
      Thanks so much for your very kind words!

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