The final score at the Pond late Sunday afternoon was Great Egret, 1, Poor Fish, 0. The Great Egret lurked menacingly at the south end of the Pond for quite some time before gleefully stabbing a humongous fish with its dagger-like beak.
Egrets must adjust for angle and depth, accounting for the water’s reflection and refraction to accurately locate prey, holding their heads at various odd angles to peer into the water. While this process is complex, it is relatively simple compared to the challenge of swallowing a fish that is way too big for your beak range!
The normally elegant bird appeared to resemble a frustrated hot-dog-eating champion at Coney Island, repeatedly trying to swallow and drop the fish before one climactic effort sent it down the hatch.
The exhausted bird then flew across the Pond to a popular tree perch to give the fish some time to literally go down its very long “hatch”. For the next ten minutes, it was oddly possible to watch the fish moving slowly down the bird’s distended neck.
Many passersby stopped to watch the spectacle on a busy Sunday afternoon, while others seemed oblivious to this life-and-death struggle taking place at the nearby water’s edge.
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