Serious Eating

While staying at home, my focus on food taste has gotten sharper. Thankfully, Chuck has decided to hone in on his already excellent chef's skills. Our kitchen now includes, besides the usual stove and conventional oven, 2 microwaves, a toaster oven, an induction cooking surface, 2 Sous Vide machines, an expresso machine, a comercial grade blender, an Instapot , a blow torch, and a breadmaker, the only appliance I'm allowed to use. I just discovered that there is an induction ready wok in our future!

I'm not surprised by the Wikipedia quote on the Great Blue Heron, seen above with two hungry chicks. 

"Feeding behaviors variably have consisted of standing in one place, probing, pecking, walking at slow speeds, moving quickly, flying short distances and alighting, hovering over water and picking up prey, diving headfirst into the water, alighting on water feet-first, jumping from perches feet-first, and swimming or floating on the surface of the water"

 

Anhingas have a different strategy. They swim with their webbed feet and pursue their prey, fish, under water and spear their prey by rapidly stretching out their neck. They come up to handle and swallow fish.

I would not want to be the Mom of this hungry Anhinga chick. Ouch! It's a good thing that the beaks of juvenile Anhingas are shorter and duller than the adult's.

 

Common Gallinules consume a wide variety of vegetable material and small aquatic creatures, sometimes upending in the water to feed. Their wide feet allow them to hop about on lily pads.

 

The diet of the Glossy Ibis is very dependent on what is available. Prey includes adult and larval insects such as aquatic beetles, dragonflies and crickets. They typically feed by lowering the bill into water, mud, or soil, to feel for prey.

 

Much like the Glossy Ibis, White Ibises probe for insects and crustaceans beneath the surface of wetlands. When they feel something, they pinch it like a tweezer, pulling out crayfish, earthworms, marine worms, and crabs. They carry muddy items away to wash off before eating. 

 

The Great Egret feeds in shallow water, mainly on fish, frogs and small mammals, by standing still and allowing the prey to come within striking distance of its long, sharp, bill, which it uses as a spear. 

 

Little Blue Herons eat fish, frogs, crustaceans, small lizards and insects.

 

In many places, humans put up real or artificial hollow gourds, or houses for Purple Martins, especially in the east, where they are almost entirely dependent on such structures. Purple martins are insectivores, primarily feeding by hawing, a strategy of catching insects in the air during flight. 

 

The Red-winged Blackbird, such as the female below, is omnivorous. It feeds primarily on plant materials, including seeds from weeds and waste grain, but about a quarter of its diet consists of insects and other small animals. Sometimes these are obtained by opening holes in vegetation to reach insects hidden inside.

 

 

 

The Redish Egret is, unfortunately, near threatened. It stalks its prey visually in shallow water, frequently running energetically and using the shadow of its wings to reduce glare on the water once it is in position to spear a fish. The result is a fascinating dance.

 

Roseate Spoonbills forage in shallow waters typically less than 5 inches deep. They sweep their partly opened spoon-shaped bill through the water, feeling and looking for crustaceans such as shrimp, prawns, aquatic insects, and fish. Once they feel the prey on their bill they snap it closed, often swallowing the item whole.

 

Snowy Egrets stalk prey in shallow water, often running or shuffling their feet, flushing prey into view by swaying their heads, flicking their wings or vibrating their bills. They may also hover, or "dip-fish" by flying with their feet just above the water surface.

 

Tricolored Herons forage for small fish in brackish wetlands. They are skilled at stalking, chasing, and standing-and-waiting to capture them. Before striking, they draw in their neck and crouch down so low that their belly often touches the water. However, in the presence of Snowy Egrets, they take their clues from the graceful white birds and bring up fish by stirring up the water with their feet. 

 

 

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2 comments

  • Thanks, Steve. It’s much appreciated, specially coming from you.

    • Cindy
  • Congratulations on these incredible photos.

    • Steve Kaye