13 June 2014

A large eel

Grey Herons often eat fish, usually quite small fish. Occasionally a Grey Heron will catch something larger. This one, at the Millennium Wetlands on Thursday, June 12, caught the largest fish I have ever seen a  heron catch and manage to eat. The eel was wriggling so violently the heron had to drop it and stab it repeatedly, trying to kill it. The heron then picked up the eel, flew a few metres and landed.
It was still thrashing about, so the heron dropped it again, stabbed it again, picked it up, walked along the shore.
The eel was still alive, so it was dealt another fearsome puncture wound.
With the eel still wriggling slightly, the heron dropped it once more and stabbed it again, as the Black-tailed Godwit flock arrived.
The eel had finally stopped moving and in two gulps it was gone, leaving a grey Heron with a very thick neck.


Stewart M said...

Thats a great set of pictures - I wonder how long a meal like that lasts a heron?

Cheers - Stewart M - Melbourne

Barry Stewart said...

I've seen similar events there over the years including a couple of instances where the heron has eaten and swallowed the eel, only for the eel to wriggle its way back out of the gape of the heron, although it went down second time!

Philip Croft said...

Perhaps this heron was aware of the potential problem and that's why it went to so much trouble to make sure the eel was dead before attempting to swallow it!