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Silver Lining to Low Water Levels

9-27-great-blue-heron-20160911_7746The low water level of most small ponds and streams this fall has at least one silver lining, and that is that consumers of fish and other aquatic creatures expend far less energy finding prey, for it is all concentrated in much smaller bodies of water. The few puddles of water in small streams contain a vast amount of life, as do small ponds.

The Great Blue Heron has the advantage of having a varied diet that is found in a variety of habitats, so it forages in grasslands, marshes, intertidal beaches, riverbanks and ponds. While amphibians, invertebrates, reptiles, mammals, and birds are all known to have been eaten by Great Blue Herons, fish are their mainstay. They often forage in ponds, where they typically wade or stand in wait of prey in shallow water, which has not been in short supply this summer and fall. While the low water level is wreaking havoc with beavers and muskrats, it provides bountiful fuel for herons, egrets, kingfishers and other birds that forage in small ponds and streams as they wend their way southward.

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7 responses

  1. Alice Pratt

    Stuffed bellies for some, not for others.

    September 27, 2016 at 8:59 am

  2. What kind of fish is that?

    September 27, 2016 at 9:42 pm

    • I wish I knew, Eliza. I asked my fisherman nephew and he said, “trash.” That’s as far as I’ve gotten with the i.d. I would welcome anyone’s expertise.

      September 28, 2016 at 6:58 am

      • It has a weird mouth!

        September 28, 2016 at 4:42 pm

  3. Alice Pratt

    It looks like a Catfish, “whiskers” are stuck to it’s face.

    September 28, 2016 at 7:29 am

  4. Alice Pratt

    Whiskers = barbels.

    September 28, 2016 at 7:33 am

  5. Alice Pratt

    I just noticed that the Heron’s lower bill speared the catfish, not likely to drop that meal, no wonder the fish doesn’t look happy.

    September 28, 2016 at 7:36 am

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