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Midmorning Snack

Midmorning Snack
Photo Information
Copyright: Anna Eksteen (Miss_Piggy) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 2285 W: 5 N: 5300] (18714)
Genre: Animals
Medium: Color
Date Taken: 2014-04-26
Categories: Birds
Camera: Sony Cybershot DSC HX1, Sony G lens 20x Optical zoom, Digital ISO 125
Exposure: f/5.6, 1/1000 seconds
More Photo Info: [view]
Photo Version: Original Version
Date Submitted: 2014-08-09 13:27
Viewed: 4327
Points: 52
[Note Guidelines] Photographer's Note
Grey Heron / Ardea cinera

I have a few images on my photographer's wish list that I still dream about taking. While being in the Kruger National Park in April this year, I managed to get two of those "wish list" shots and one I have shared with you recently of the leguaan showing its blue tongue.

Today I share with you the second image, that of a Grey Heron that speared a fish. I was so excited when I took the photo, and even more thrilled, that I could capture it before it gobbled the fish down in a jiffy.

This image was taken at the Sunset Dam ±1km from the Lower Sabie restcamp. I was satisfied with the outcome of the photograph, and would like to share it with you.

Many information has been given of the Grey Heron before as this bird have been featured a number of times on Trek Nature and I thought it would be interesting to share some information about THE DIGESTION OF A BIRD.

Birds depend heavily on their digestive systems to remain nourished and healthy. Many birds can starve in hours if deprived of food; therefore, their digestive system is faster and more efficient than those of other vertebrate groups. Digestion in birds involves a lot of organs, each performing a specific function. It begins with entry of food via the beak and ends with waste exiting at the vent. Food is broken down and absorbed for use along the way.

The discussion of avian digestion begins with the mouth. Bird beaks or bills replace the lips and teeth of mammals and vary in shape, size, length and function according to the type of diet consumed. Seed-crackers such as finches have a short conical beak, while birds of prey such as hawks have a powerful hooked beak for tearing flesh. The tongue of birds, just as the beak, is adapted to the type of food the bird consumes. Woodpeckers have a long narrow tongue which functions as a spear, allowing them to extract insects from holes they drill in dead wood. Birds of prey and finches have short, thick, fleshy tongues which allow them to manipulate their food. Fowl and pelicans have tongues which allow the food to be easily shoved to the back of the mouth for swallowing. A bird's mouth is relatively unimportant in eating and digesting food in comparison with, for example, the mammalian mouth. However, most birds do have salivary glands and the beak and tongue do help birds manipulate food for swallowing.

After leaving the mouth, food passes through the esophagus on its way to the stomach (in birds called the proventriculus). Many species of birds have an enlarged area of the esophagus known as a crop. The crop is well developed in most species and serves as a temporary storage location for food.

The crop also allows food to be softened before it enters the stomach. Pigeons and doves produce "crop milk" that they feed to their young for the first two weeks after hatching. Other species, such as ospreys, will regurgitate food that has been stored and softened in their crops and feed it to their young.

Birds have a two part stomach, a glandular portion known as the proventriculus and a muscular portion known as the gizzard. Hydrochloric acid, mucus and a digestive enzyme, pepsin, are secreted by specialized cells in the proventriculus and start the process of breaking down the structure of the food material. The food then passes to the second part of the stomach, the gizzard. The gizzard performs the same function as mammalian teeth, grinding and disassembling the food, making it easier for the digestive enzymes to break down the food. In most birds the gizzard contains sand grains or small rocks to aid the grinding process.

The small intestine is where food is digested and absorbed. The small intestine varies in length and structure depending on the diet of the species. Carnivorous birds tend to have shorter, less complex small intestines. Herbivorous birds have longer, more developed small intestines. Enzymes, produced in the pancreas, break down proteins and fats in the small intestine. Nutrients are then absorbed through the intestinal membranes and into the bloodstream. The avian large intestine is reduced to a short, featureless connection between the small intestine and the cloaca. The cloaca is the final holding area for the waste products of digestion until they are voided through the vent. Source

I hope you enjoy looking at this photo as much as I took pleasure in taking it.

Hormon_Manyer, tuslaw, PeterZ, Hussain58, senn, marius-secan, Hotelcalifornia, pierrefonds, Alex99, bungbing, KOMSIS has marked this note useful
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Critiques [Translate]

Hi Anna,
A beautiful image about the (successfully) fishing heron. Excellent timing, you just captured the moment when the big bird lifted the breakfast. :-) Nice exposure (no oe at all), gret details on the plumage, and a pleasant off-centered composition. Gorgeous image! Brava!
Best regards, László

  • Great 
  • lousat Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 6595 W: 89 N: 15659] (65489)
  • [2014-08-09 15:35]

Hi Anna,a funny title for this great capture,a very fresh snack to the great heron,the quality of this pic is absolutely fantastic,what a detail,colors and exposure,and what a perfect choice of point of view too,i like it!Have a nice Sunday and thanks,Luciano.

  • Great 
  • tuslaw Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 2754 W: 282 N: 4931] (19883)
  • [2014-08-09 18:40]

Hi Anna,
I would be thrilled too if I had captured such a neat shot. Both the heron and the fish are in perfect focus, as a matter of fact the fish couldn't be posed any better. I believe everyone wishes for a capture such as this, and you have succeeded wonderfully. Congratulations!!


  • Great 
  • PeterZ Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5137 W: 166 N: 13121] (49139)
  • [2014-08-10 0:29]

Hello Anna,
The amazing details in the fish made this photo. The sharpness all over is very good. Made in beautiful light and natural colours. Taken from the best POV.

  • Great 
  • anel Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 3053 W: 3 N: 8715] (40574)
  • [2014-08-10 2:04]

Hello Anna,
We wish to the bird a good appetite. Very fine, well presented bird-picture. Good vertical framing and excellent sharpness too. A bird we can see in our surroundings too, but very quickly they are chased away by crows..
Kind regards

  • Great 
  • Cobo Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 236 W: 1 N: 535] (5799)
  • [2014-08-10 4:55]

Great moment in a very good picture! Congratulation. Saludos.

Hello Anna,

Hope life is good. I am back after a long hiatus and missed friends of TN but I am back rather trying to be back....smile. I am grateful for your earlier comments to my average photos. Yours is a splendid one and of a top quality. My Sony has turned out to be a failure but some cameras of this brand are marvellous like yours. The image is perfect, the light as perfect as well and your skill of high class.You have captured the true colours of the lake. The ripples, the moss and general greenness, the colours of the heron and the fish.....yes, a addition to 'wish list'. Thanks a lot for sharing, take care,

warm regards/Abid

Hi Anna,
照的清晰 很漂亮的水鳥
顏色鮮豔華麗 很新奇 尤其這竟投很成功的抓住吃魚的那一刻一的表情 光線亮麗
構圖美麗 背景深遂

  • Great 
  • senn Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 58 W: 2 N: 155] (1384)
  • [2014-08-10 10:47]

Hi Anna,
Excellent pose and take of this interesting moment, .. effectively exposed a capture and details are delightful; .. well done again


nuri :)

hallo Anna
very nice picture with good light and beautiful colours
the details are super
thanks gr lou

Just the right moment and in very good quality.

Hello Anna,
Brilliant in all aspects.....Incredible clarity, focus and sharp details. Very nice image. I like this interesting scene. The colors and contrast of this image are amazing....
Thanks for sharing!

Hello Anna-"Sunset Dam"-one of my favourite place to cherish the beauty of different kind of species in South Africa.Very well captured with good details and sharpness.Thanks for sharing.Regards and have a nice time-Srikumar

Hi Anna,

The ripples on the water and the reflections are assets to the composition. The point of view is showing the details and the colors Of the Grey Heron. The good luminosity is bringing out the colors. Have a nice day.


Hello Anna,
What a nice gift to see this beauty Grey Heron with a fish. Beautiful light and colours in fine sharpness and an attractive composition. The legs and the fish gives you an extra bonus. :)
Have a good weekend,

Impressive photo Anna! Very good timing, good composition, wonderful colours and very good sharpness!

  • Great 
  • iti Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 577 W: 0 N: 650] (7939)
  • [2014-08-18 8:37]

Hi Anna,
Another great image,excellent detail and focus bird and fish too. Amazing colors.
Regards Jiri.

  • Great 
  • Alex99 Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 4072 W: 133 N: 7096] (23735)
  • [2014-08-28 21:45]

Bravo, Anna.
Once more masterpiece from you. Amazing scene, superb clarity and transparency of the image. I also love natural and clean colours and precise exposure. Thanks a lot and warm regards.

  • Great 
  • loot Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Star Workshop Editor/Gold Note Writer [C: 5524 W: 722 N: 4163] (11276)
  • [2014-08-30 19:37]

Excellent capture Anna.
That one got your adrenaline going. Lovely colours and sharp detail gives one a pleasant look at this action. That's a nice sizable fish for the Heron to enjoy. The vertical image worked well and I like the piece of grass in front just to anchor the scene.
Well done and thanks for sharing.

Beautifully clear shot of this heron (and its victim)! I would love to see this full size - it looks liek the detail would be incredible.

Hallo Anna,
Weereens 'n uitstaande foto van jou, en dit is 'n "understatement". Jou nota is ook baie insiggewend. Ek is bly dat jy nog een van jou droombeelde kon vasvang - wonderlik! Wat maak die verskil tussen 'n alledaagse en uitstaande fotograaf? Jy is laasgenoemde. Mens moet natuurlik altyd gereed wees maar ek dink mens moet ook 'n oog daarvoor hę - en entoesiasme, natuurlik. Baie groete. Dit is 'n genot om jou foto's te beleef.

Hello Anna,
A very nice picture of this heron with a fish, very good timing, sharpness and details are good, lovely background, a very well captured,
Thanks for sharing and have a nice weekend,
Best Regards,

Hello Anna,
Nice catch,excellent clarity and very well exposed.
Happy New Year.

  • Great 
  • KOMSIS Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 820 W: 0 N: 2419] (10674)
  • [2015-09-12 8:35]

Hallo Anna,
Very nice photo of this Grey Heron ..
Beautiful presentation of this bird in very nice natural colours, great sharpness.
Have a nice weekend,

Nice photo Anna.

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