This morning I drove to the marina on Lake Monroe.
It was about this time of year that a Royal Tern showed up here last year, and I thought it might be worth checking to see if it might return. I didn’t find it, but I did see a Great Blue Heron.
It looked like it was just standing there, not too interested in fishing. But as I was taking a few shots, it lunged forward and plunged its head into the water.
It came out with what looks to me to be a young Florida Gar.
He only stood in the water with the gar for a few seconds. Almost immediately, he flew onto the grass so that he could begin the process of killing and consuming his prey.
He repeatedly stabbed the fish, puncturing its head and ensuring that it was good and dead. This seems to explain why he wanted to fly onto the grass. This way it couldn’t swim away while he stabbed it.
Then he began to swallow it–head first, of course.
But he must not have liked the way it was going down, so he pushed it a little way back out and then tried swallowing it again.
The second time was a charm. The whole process of catching, killing and swallowing the fish took just over 7 minutes. But he looked kind of funky for quite some time afterwards.
All that to say, sometimes you can have an even better time seeing a common bird do something amazing than finding an unusual bird. I left this encounter feeling it had been a worthwhile morning.