The Great Blue Heron’s most obvious weapon is its beak. It’s a formidable pair of needlenose pliers that clasps little mammals like moles and gophers in a death grip. It could also act as a spear. Less obvious but vital to get the bird in position to use that weapon is its feet. They’re so sensitive that they can pick up the vibrations of little paws scurrying in the soil below, and at the same time they convey the big bird noiselessly within pouncing range. But not every stalking maneuver scores. Here the bird senses a meal near the base of the fennel bush, but the prey never surfaces, and after a while the bird gives up and moves on.
I’m guessing this is a different bird from the other big blues we’ve seen recently. Judging by the color of the bill it looks older than the youngster we saw but not as old as the grizzled veteran. But I could be wrong — it’s hard for a human, at least this one, to tell one bird individual in the wild from another.