Last Fish Of The Night

Earlier this week I was watching this great blue heron fishing at the edge of the marsh pond just prior to sunset. The heron was back lit by the setting sun which cast a yellow hue on the water, and on the fish. After catching this fish the great blue was ready to call it a night. The alligators will remain out there however, since they don’t mind hunting in the dark!

GBH Fishing at Sunset

53 thoughts on “Last Fish Of The Night

  1. As usual excellent. I am still fascinated at how they pierce the fish. Looks like that is a common method for a lot of birds.

    • Thanks Judy, I’m happy you like this pic! The GBH is one bird that is fully capable of either spearing or grabbing a fish. They are expert at both and I think it sometimes only depends on where they strike the fish.

  2. The late day light is very interesting on the eye of the bird and on the fish!! Does not look very grainy either considering high ISO. I was not consciously aware of the head first swallowing until seeing your series shots of head first consumption. Prior to that I’d mostly seen fish coming back out at the nest fin first but never thought about it. The other day I read somewhere doing bird research that they swallow head first. So I guess its a known thing. Wonder what the parents teach them….Don’t swallow until you see the whites of their eyes?? 🙂

    • Thanks for your very kind words and I’m happy you enjoyed this photo. I pretty much always see them swallow the fish head first. The other way could cut up their mouth and throat with the fish fins. I have seen a GBH with a cut tongue which I’m betting happened on a fish swallow.

  3. It’s a beautiful picture – with the sun turning the water into a soft apricot pond – and he does look satisfied with his well-speared fish. It’s really quite a good size, isn’t it, relative to his body. How many would he need to eat in a day, Phil?

    • Thanks very much for you kind comments about this photo and I’m glad you enjoyed it.
      It would not be unusual for me to see a heron get 5 or 6 fish like this in a short time. I’m not sure if it was fishing all day or doing other things. I think they will fish as long as they can when the fishing is good because there is no guarantee they will be that successful tomorrow.

    • I have seen them both grab a fish with their bill and spear one. I honestly think it’s just matter of how they hit the fish once they strike at it. The herons are so quick at that I think they don’t know themselves until they come up out of the water whether it’s speared or just grabbed. Either way, the fish is almost certainly met it’s demise.

  4. That fish looks very fed up Phil. Quite an expression on its face or perhaps this is just me. I think I’d be pretty fed up too mind you, with a beak through my middle. 😦

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