Each visit to the "poo ponds" seems to deliver something fascinating, even if the wind is blowing a gale and the dust is getting into everything, as it was last Sunday.
The first thing of note was something that my friend Joy and I have seen on numerous occasions at Werribee, and that was cooperative, or maybe opportunistic, joint hunting between Little Egrets and Little Black or Little Pied Cormorants. More than once we have seen these species working the shallow pools in Western Lagoon Pond 4. The cormorant works under water near the feet of the egret as the birds travel together along the water’s edge. I have no idea who gets the major benefit but it must work for both species because, as I said, it is not an uncommon sight.
The other fascinating incident was watching a Little Pied Cormorant eating a flounder, again in Western Lagoon Pond 4. Two different things about this event intrigued us, first it was a large meal for a little bird and second, how did a flounder get into what is, apparently, a pond that has no direct channel to the adjoining coastal inlet? I guess, on some of the highest tides the inlet and Pond 4 must be connected. The time from when we noticed the bird standing on the sandbank with the fish until it was eaten was about 35 seconds
|The first option seemed to be to hold the fish by the head ...|
|and wave it around a bit ...|
|then put it down and pick it up in the middle ...|
|then throw it up, catch it, and try to swallow it sideways, which didn't work ...|
|then put it down and pick it up again by the head ...|
|and throw it high ...|
|and catch it so that it can be swallowed head first ...|
|and that worked.|
|Then all that is needed is to stand quietly while everything gets digested. Though I am not sure how comfortable the bird looks. It must have been a very big stretch.|
All images copyright Jennifer Spry