Fishing with a Heron

Tod Inlet is a favorite walk among most islanders, a short hike crammed between the Butchart Gardens property and the south part of The Gowland Tod Provincial Park.

The main trail follows Tod Creek all the way until it meets the ocean and despite its size the walk features some beautiful scenery and some unique species of plants and a diverse collection of critters.

One of the most unique sights is the ruins of an old cement factory that was operational during the early 1900’s and a few buildings still remain. The factory made Butchart Gardens possible due to the limestone quarry carved out of the earth by forgotten immigrant works from India and China. These marginalized workers are the subject of a documentary called Beyond the Gardens’ Wall.

While walking I spotted the unmistakable shape of a Great Blue Heron fishing in the shallows of the inlet. A closer look produced a very comfortable fisherbird in lovely still water.

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The GBH is a true master of its environment and built to fish. It moves gracefully through the water at a very controlled pace, never in a rush.

Once a target has been seen in the shallow water, the Heron will pause, any movement is controlled, concentration increases as the Heron lowers its slender “S” shaped neck towards the unsuspecting.

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Then, from a standstill, a swift snatch of its prey, a skill that has only ever been copied by Frank Dux. OK USA.

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Sometimes when you sit around and wait, you end up witnessing something unexpected. In this case, a gull managed to catch a fish a little larger than expected.

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Guess who felt a little envious and moved in.

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Someone looks a little unhappy with how that turned out.

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A big meal for the Heron, it seemed like it would need a knife and fork.

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Flipping it around may help.

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Finally managed to get it down, I was very surprised. You can even see the bulge in the neck from the giant fish.

Watching through the lens is always interesting.

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