Southern belle with a story to tell. Refreshing iced tea served after literary punches thrown.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Welcome to Jurassic Beach!

Dino-bird of death on Johnson Beach.
An hour before sunset, this beautiful Blue Heron flew down right in front of us on the beach at Johnson Beach (Perdido Key, FL).  The four foot tall fowl didn't seem too frightened of humans, and walked in and out of the surf looking for dinner. And me, being the total science/biology geek, followed it around with my camera.

Eventually, our predator found a fish in ankle-deep water and skewered it with his beak, then tried to swallow it whole, but he wasn't able to get it to go down his long, skinny neck.

So what did he do next?

He carried the fish to a sandy spot near a dune, leaned his long neck back, and stabbed the flopping fish to death, using his sharp beak as a dagger.

Next,  he carried the dead fish to the water, rinsed it off, and gulped it down.  As he walked away, the tail of his victim could be seen sticking out of the side of his mouth.

I wish I'd gotten video of the event, but we were all too busy watching him attack the fish with our mouths wide open.

Seriously, this guy was like a modern day Velociraptor, and we totally understood the whole bird-dino link after that.
This was his footprint. Bigger than my hand! Jurassic indeed!
Substitute his feathers with scales, and you get this:

Now we didn't take this video below, but it's quite similar to what we witnessed, except our Blue Heron stabbed the prey more than one time and was a bit more brutal.
Be patient.  You gotta wait for it! This dude's a serious hunter, and he's quick when he strikes!  Got any fun vacation stories to share? Witness any of the thrilling natural world on your travels? Send them my way! Happy summer everyone.


SC Author said...

That is awesome. I would have loved to see that! I'm wondering whether they break their beaks a lot, maybe stabbing a rock or something by accident....

Anonymous said...

Oh, my! Up close and personal with a real life nature experience.

Happy Summer to you guys too.