Big Blue and the Bull

The Great Blue Heron is back, and hungry!

A Bullfrog makes a nice meal for a heron. Our resident heron (below) has captured a large male frog.

This Great Blue Heron’s in pretty deep. Not only is it up to its belly in the water but it has nabbed a large, squirming male Bullfrog.

With a firm grip on the frog, the heron wades over to a nearby island to safely prepare the frog for consumption.

gbh frog
The heron takes the frog over to one of the Wetland’s small islands to make preparations for eating.
Although mortally wounded, the frog may still be able to escape if dropped in the water.

The frog must be rendered motionless before it’s gulped down. A squirmy, wiggling frog may accidentally be dropped in the water and could be lost among the weeds and algae, too much time and energy goes into the capture to let that happen. The island allows for a safe place to work on the frog.

After repeatedly dropping the frog and stabbing at it until it no longer moved, it was finally time to eat the frog.
Gripping the frog head first makes for an easier slide down the heron’s long throat.
Several minutes after gulping down the frog the heron waded out into the water to survey the scene.
The heron takes off for a favorite perch.

The whole sequence took approximately 13 minutes, from capture to take off, when the heron retreated to a favorite perch to digest, preen, and rest.

Life in the Wetlands.

12 responses to Big Blue and the Bull

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Thanks Leon.
      I wish I had more time to document all of what goes on out there, in the wild.

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Thanks Laura.
      It seems as though this series of shots has generated much interest.
      Thanks again, and hope to see you down by the Wetlands soon.

  1. Karyn says:

    Terrific sequence of shots! What camera did you use? Where were you standing?

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Thanks Karyn.
      The camera used was a Panasonic Lumix DMC-FZ35.
      Initially, I was standing on the Wetlands Overlook, then quickly moved to the boardwalk between the pavement and the Black Bear Overlook.
      Have a good one.

  2. Beck Tench says:

    Is there a reason the Heron went back into the water to eat the frog?

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Although it appears that the heron may have walked back out into the water, in the photo of the bird getting ready to tilt its head back and swallow, it was actually standing at the edge of the water as it finally gulped down the frog. The frog was quite dead at the time with little chance of it wriggling free and swimming away.

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      Thanks Wendy!
      There are hundreds of little dramas being played out at any given time in the Wetlands, anyone who cares to witness them can do so, if they have the inclination.
      See you in the Wetlands.

  3. Sherry Samuels says:

    How amazing to be able to see this- thanks Greg. What time of day was it?

    • Greg Dodge, Ranger says:

      It was indeed amazing to see. But, there’s always something amazing happening in the Wetlands, you just have to be there to see it. Fortunately, I’m lucky enough to be out there most of the day.
      The time was 3:22-3:35 PM.

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