This Snowy Egret stood as still as a statue for many minutes, and then began pacing and peering attentively, sensing something of interest. Suddenly it pounced at a crack in the rocks at the water line and came up with a fish about five inches long, probably some kind of sculpin. It took the bird just seconds to position the fish head first and swallow it alive. That’s a sharp contrast to the long foreplay that we’ve seen with the Snowy’s bigger cousin, the Great Egret, or for that matter, with another Snowy at another time. As in these other episodes, the bird finished its meal by taking some sips of water. Birds can handle salt water; they have a special gland that extracts the salt and pushes it out of their nostrils.
Thanks to Peter Rauch for help with the fish ID.