On this page are photos taken at Obsidian Butte, Salton Sea, Feb 2, 2002, while with a group from the San Diego Natural History Museum.    Click on the thumbnails for the full-size images.  They are not of the best quality but even a "hardened outdoorsman" such as myself, did not need ALL of the details.  All photos are copyrighted; please e-mail us for usage permission.

Great Blue Heron taking an Eared Grebe


    Nature can sometimes seem quit unpleasant. Many hawks, owls, herons and such are opportunists when it comes to a meal and sometimes meals are harder to come by than others.  If something does not get out of the way quick's lunch.  As we were walking out to observe the birds, I could see that something had them disturbed, so I was watching out for the Peregrine as the likely culprit. The activity seemed to be concentrated in too small an area for that though.  When one of the group spotted the true culprit, a Great Blue Heron, she thought that it had raided a nest.  No one felt any the more relieved to know that there are no nests at this time of year and that the unfortunate victim of the moment was an adult Eared Grebe.





 After a while the heron moved to the other side of the rocks and began dunking his catch.  Make it easier to go down?  I have seen Great Blue's swallow gophers and fish that I would have bet would not go down. I have also found several Great Blue skeletons that contained skeletons of tilapia lodged in the throat that did not go down. We did not stay to see the outcome of this drama of nature so do not know if the heron was successful. I would like to think that I lost the bet and that one life was taken but not wasted. 





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Photos Bob Miller