Big Breakfast… Almost

This morning I was watching this egret fishing at the edge of an oyster bed in the salt marsh during low tide.

As soon as I saw him flapping his wings and dancing around looking all excited, I knew he saw something he wanted which generally turns out to be a nice fish.

The egret did indeed pluck a good size fish up out of the water which would have been an excellent breakfast. He seemed extremely happy with his catch, and even did a funny little hop move over to open water, apparently to finish his meal.

He started to swallow the fish down and I fully expected him to do just that. But what the egret did next quite frankly shocked me more than a little. He bent down and gently placed the fish back in the water and, as best as I could tell, the fish swam away to freedom.

This egret may have decided that the fish was too big to get down, although he seemed to be a full sized adult bird and should have been capable of eating a fish that size.

I was so surprised I stopped taking pictures and just stood there and watched expecting the egret to go back after the fish. But all he did was pace around for a bit then fly off.

I suppose the fish was too much to handle so no big breakfast for this egret today.

Egret Drops Big Breakfast

Egret Drops Big Breakfast

Egret Drops Big Breakfast

Egret Drops Big Breakfast

Egret Drops Big Breakfast

Egret Drops Big Breakfast

20 thoughts on “Big Breakfast… Almost

  1. Picky eater!
    That fish looked like it was well within the size limits an adult Great Egret can handle. Very strange behavior indeed.

    • They often will dip a fish back into the water to re-wet it again and especially if they drop the fish in mud they like to wash them off. But in this case the fish did not get away, the egret intentionally placed it back into the water with every chance to go after it again but simply walked away. The fish was not dead or dying either, it was fully alive and kicking. I know they don’t like dead fish, but again, not the case here.
      This fish had a really large head so I strongly suspect the egret just didn’t think he could comfortably get it down.
      So now that fish has a wild and crazy story to tell all his friends. ☺

  2. Great Shots, lovely bird, and smart bird, he eats better than I do!!! I would love to join him for lunch sometime…only would not swallow a whole fish in one shot….but maybe there are many more where that one came from…….and he gets his fill…Thank you!!!

  3. “Compassion” at its finest :D. After all the egret did lay the fish back down gently. Hope this fish lives a while and not as another’s meal soon after.

    • There were a few other birds around and I thought for sure this fish would end up as dinner for somebody, but he may have actually escaped with a story to tell. 🙂

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