We spend a good bit of time observing our creek in Spring, checking on the ice thaw. There has been serious concern this year because not only have we had an extremely cold winter without a break, but we also had a huge ice storm with major tree damage. A quick thaw would produce a very messy ice jam under our bridge, the only access to our home. Flooding could be a serious problem.
Two days ago we had sunny weather which melted some ice “islands” and produced a few open spots where ducks appeared. I knew they were Mergansers, but I wasn’t certain what kind. And so today, as we returned from town, we spied the pair of ducks once more. This time it was clear that they are Common Mergansers. The male is much more handsome than in the guide! Google gets credit for this photo!
There were also Canada Geese flying overhead. And then I spied motion in some grasses. Was it a nest? No… It looked like a young bird reaching up searching for something. Wrong again. Gradually my husband figured out that what I thought were grasses were in fact a Great Blue Heron bending over and attacking a huge fish. My guess was that the fish was 12 inches in length, DH guessed 14 inches. Methodically the heron turned the fish over, held it in its beak, then hopped across the creek to a snowy spot where there were more grasses. And then, it gulped the entire fish down. The heron’s slender neck became very thick, and bit by bit, the heron crouched down, then stood still, watching our car cautiously. We watched him for another five or so minutes before leaving his space.
Of course I did not have a camera in hand. This Youtube clip is very similar to what we observed today.
Nature is amazing!