Feb 2, 2011
fooling a heron
After a delicious lunch at Sweet P's BBQ on the Stock Creek embayment, I wandered over to the water to see what was around. A song sparrow lurked in the weeds, but mostly I saw great blue herons, about a dozen. Most had staked out a hunting spot, and the few that had not were squabbling over turf with swoops and squawks.
Then the gulls moved in, at least a hundred ring bills. They glided over the water and soon began diving en masse into the water with vigorous plunges. A nearby heron had the same thought I did: they are after fish. The heron excitedly ambled out into the water, right into the center of the flock of gulls, but there were no fish. After a few indignant moments amid plunging gulls, the heron returned to its spot.
I snapped a bunch of photos at the fastest shutter speed the overcast day would allow, and upon inspection I could see the gulls were hitting the water feet first. Gulls have webbed feet, not talons, and when they pluck fish from the water, they grab them with their bill. My guess is the gulls were taking a bath. I'm not sure what the heron thought.