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Great Blue Hunter

On the last three visits to the pits, I have noticed a very unusual visitor. Although we get a lot of fly over Great Blue Herons very few spend much time on the actual pits, in fact a few get careless and end up getting mired in the muck and dying.

This Great Blue had been seen on the same island of grass for a few days and at first I thought it might have been sick but after almost a week, I decided to watch and see what it was up to.

I've seen Great Egrets take Least Sandpipers on two occasions over the years and a Great Blue at the Phillippy Pits in Lake County killed and swallowed a Pectoral Sandpiper that appeared to be injured, so at first I suspected this Great Blue might be hunting my Wind Birds.

The Least Sandpipers, that I saw the two Great Egrets take, had been surprise hits as the Least just turned the wrong corner and were snapped up by a hidden egret. I noted that this Great Blue was not trying to be sneaky around the edge of the grass where the shorebirds were but was actually slowly hunting inside the thick grassy stand.

I saw a quick jab and the Great Blue rushed out from the grass to the open flats with something thrashing about in its beak. It dropped the RAT and with a quick stab, put an end to its kicking. The following shots show him with his prize meal.

The last two photos are evidently the same bird that returned the following year and again took up successfully stalking rats.
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter
Great Blue Hunter - 9-16-07 Ensley Pits
Great Blue Hunter - 9-16-07 Ensley Pits
Great Blue Hunter - 9-16-07 - Ensley  Pits
Great Blue Hunter - 9-16-07 - Ensley Pits
Great Blue Heron - 8-14-2011 - Rat Hunter
Great Blue Heron - 8-14-2011 - Rat Hunter
Great Blue Heron - 8-14-2011 - Rat Hunter
Great Blue Heron - 8-14-2011 - Rat Hunter
Great Blue Heron - 8-14-2011 - Rat Hunter
Great Blue Heron - 8-14-2011 - Rat Hunter