Friday, May 15, 2009
Skywatch Friday: Blue Heron Ballet
I recently returned from a trip to the New River Birding and Nature Festival in West Virgina. While there we saw this Great Blue Heron come flying overhead while we were on the High Country Birding trip. While most herons fly with their necks bent in an "S" curve, this bird was flying with its neck extended. As it circled lower a large fish could be seen sticking out of its throat. This series of photos was taken as the bird circled overhead. I suspect it was a juvenile by the brown streaking that can bee seen on its breast and belly. Perhaps it swallowed a bigger fish that it could handle. Perhaps it wanted to land at the nearby pond we were standing by and get a drink to wash it down. Scroll down to see the bird as it flies with it's neck bent, then extend it as it tries to fly and swallow. If you look closely, you can see the bulge in its neck and sometimes you can even see something (fish tail, fins, or bird tongue) sticking out of its mouth. When I looked at these photos at home, it reminded me of an aerial ballet. The above photo is number 8 in the sequence.
Look at those magnificent wings!
I've never seen a Great Blue Heron look like this before.