I have taken to riding around with my camera near at hand, and how happy I am that I did this the other day.
I saw this Grey Heron as I past the one dam its attitude told me it was either stalking something or had seen food…
I got this photo just before the strike and then struggled to actually see what it had caught.. a struggle was on the cards.. something of length that could not just be swallow.. I continued to take photos until I could make out what it was… a small grass snake..
This snake was not giving up without a fight…
and even managed to encircle the beak of the bird..
Down the hatch you go… eyes closed…
But with a lot of head shaking and swallowing the snake finally disappeared down its throat… I nearly gagged thinking about that length going down my throat, and then it struck me… the snake was not dead when it went down.. why would it not bite the bird from the inside ? and would it be painful if it did ?
The bird was now disturbed by my proximity and flew off to one of the other dams, closely followed by me…
An odd stance and attitude.. was this bird regretting the meal?.. well it never regurgitated anything, had a drink and settled down to what looked like a further search for food..
This has taught me one lesson… “keep the camera handy!”…
The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea),
I’ve been watching
I’ve been waiting
In the shadows all my time
I’ve been searching
I’ve been living
For tomorrows all my life
Lyrics >> The Rasmus – In The Shadows Lyrics
The Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea),
This a wading bird of the heron family. I took these photos at Lake Panic in the Kruger National Park.
It’s native throughout temperate Europe and Asia and also parts of Africa. It is resident in the milder south and west, but many birds retreat in winter from the ice in colder regions. It has become common in summer even inside the Arctic circle along the Norwegian coast.
Adults have a white head with a broad black supercilium and slender crest, while immature birds have a dull grey head. It has a powerful, pinkish-yellow bill, which is brighter in breeding adults. It has a slow flight, with its long neck retracted (S-shaped). This is characteristic of herons and bitterns, and distinguishes them from storks, cranes and spoonbills, which extend their necks. The call is a loud croaking “fraaank”.
This species breeds in colonies in trees close to lakes, the seashore or other wetlands, although it will also nest in reed beds. At Lake Panic there is one nesting in a tree direct across from the Bird hide…
This one is catching a ride on a Hippo’s back… I wonder if this one knows the crocodile is there, I didn’t till I looked at my photo..
On arrival after yesterdays showing what was encountered on the way, we found a dam full of diverse birds awaiting us. firstly the hippo that approached closer to see who had arrived.
And another hiding behind the tree, if from us or the approaching family member , who knows, maybe they play “Hide and Seek” like us.
To the one side i saw the juvenile grey heron on a mission to capture food, a frog or two.
Searching deep amid the grass cover for whatever he could find.
Not far from him (or her) a pair of cavorting African jacana a photographers dream with their colours and long toes, a great subject to have so close.
They even have a certain beauty in their reflection.
I will leave the rest we saw for another blog, as there are so many.