Herons are taking fish and frogs “to go” out of my backyard ponds, for trips to their nearby nests.
I watch a heron go after the goldfish in the ponds. It will eat and swallow the first fish, but will “mouth,” and not swallow their second catch, and immediately fly away with the captured prey. The herons can carry the food in their throat pouch, and barf it up in the nest later for fine cuisine with the family.
I’ve also seen herons within a mile or two of my house, in a boggy network of creeks, lakes and big trees. They might nest there. But eagles are already there, nearby.
The heron doesn’t scare off as easy from my backyard as in past years. It visits 3 times a day or more. Yesterday it landed on the fence while I was outside, 20 feet away. The flapping whoosh of its 6 foot wingspan and burst of platinum and blue colors seemed to throw open the curtain to another reality, as it settled on the fence.
I sat stone-still 20 feet away as it preened, ate a large bug, and eyed me, and then watched the small pond below. That pond was set aside for frogs to breed, and for tadpoles to grow. At that moment it was teeming with tadpoles.
The heron watched the tadpoles for several minutes, glaring at me now and then. But the parent chorus frogs never appeared, and the tadpoles apparently weren’t worth the trouble of spearing.
The heron flew a few feet to the fish pond, and promptly caught two fish in two minutes, belly-flopping for the second one. The heron rose from the pond, dripping water. The water emboldened the heron’s breast colors. The heron’s inner wing feathers flashed a garish red from under where its wing and body met. I’d never seen a heron from this angle, head-on, from slightly below, the heron with wings outspread. The mosaic of colors might be a seldom-seen mating display. Alas, the camera was 90 feet away.
The heron flew away with the fish in its pouch, veering towards the lake and ponds down the hill.
So I have not actually witnessed a heron eat a native chorus frog. But it sure seemed interested in the frogs’ ponds.
A marauding, unmourned bullfrog disappeared last week also.
Some creature keeps stabbing the solar powered-”lily” floating light.
I’d blamed the raccoon for the damage, but am no longer sure.
Now it’s your turn.
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a nature refuge.
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What have you noted in your area or travels? Any pretty birds at the feeders?
Please post your observations and general location in your comments. I’ll check back by lunchtime.