Mitch Rohse has shared some observations regarding and photos of a talented Great Blue Heron:

“I’m not sure to what extent you’re able to use photos from readers, but I seem to recall that there have been some in recent issues. I therefore will offer up the four attached photos for you to use (any or all) in a future newsletter if you so wish. In them, you will see nary a kayak or canoe, but you will see what I think are some remarkable images of that iconic Oregon bird so familiar to paddlers, namely the Great Blue Heron. I use the word “remarkable” not in reference to the quality of the photo but to the amazing abilities and appetite of the heron. As you’ll see, the subject bird has speared a large adult carp that appears to weigh 7-8 pounds or perhaps even more. This just happens to be the typical weight of a fully grown Great Blue Heron.

“I watched this particular bird for the better part of an hour and was greatly impressed with his capacities. In that time, he speared not only the big carp but also a large catfish. On both occasions, he lifted into the air with his prey, carried it to a nearby island, beat it on the ground till it was dead or had at least surrendered, and then swallowed it whole. In other words, this bird demonstrated that he can fly carrying a fish that’s bigger than he is, can swallow a fish that has a circumference several times as large as that of a heron’s neck, and can eat more than his total body weight for breakfast. Some bird!

“I took the pictures in June at Baskett Slough National Wildlife Refuge, west of Salem. I’ve been taking a lot of other wildlife photos, too, including some from the kayak. That’s a tricky business, but the kayak does get me closer to the critters, even though I do risk subjecting my Nikon to a sudden dunking.



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