Feasting on fish


Fish are a staple food for much of the wildlife around the Lake — we are, after all, dealing with a lake — so, I show wildlife feasting on fish.

This posting was prompted by recent pictures, but these images have been supplemented by shots drawn from earlier occasions. The reason for this is that some of the events are so fleeting that few have been recorded, and one can only show what one has.

There are about two dozen species of fish in the Lake. Rather than try to show all, I illustrate only the spectacular spawning Kokanee. Most spawning creeks are well shaded, but for a shot of the Kokanee in their dazzling redness, one must find a spot where they pass through sunlight.

The raven is an inveterate predator upon the spawning Kokanee.

During much of the warm season, ospreys specialize in suckers, but come the time of Kokanee spawning, preferences change. Notice the two wasps taking an interest in the Kokanee.

The Bald Eagle is a versatile eater, so during Kokanee spawning, it takes advantage of them.

The mallard is a flexible feeder that often poaches Kokanee eggs, but here it eats a carcass.

A perennial favourite of wildlife is the sucker. Here a Hooded Merganser downs one.

Most birds must swallow their meal whole, so the size of the prey changes with the size of the predator. This Belted Kingfisher is limited to rather small fish.

A Pied-billed Grebe can handle a modestly larger fish.

A Great Blue Heron can swallow a rather large one.

A gull can pick a fish apart, yet, this fish was swallowed whole as the bird flew.

The fish being consumed by this Common Merganser is unidentified.

A loon swallows a fish far out on the lake.

A lesser known fish is the Slimy Sculpin being consumed by this Horned Grebe.

One might imagine that fish are the preserve of birds. Not so, here a Black Bear eats a Kokanee.

And a River Otter eats a sucker.

I have failed to show a Turkey Vulture eating anything. That they hang around and feast on fish carcasses is clear, but I have yet to catch them in the act. It remains something to look for.


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6 Responses to Feasting on fish

  1. Karen Pidcock says:

    Nature red in tooth and claw, eh?! Wonderful captures of the feasts our feathered or furry friends get from the lake, Alistair…thanks!

  2. Lois Theaker says:

    Hi Alistair, I am one of your fans though I am mostly silent in my appreciation. Love your blog and enjoy sharing it with the family.

  3. Margaret Young says:

    You blow me away with your magnificent shots. What patience you must have. I really appreciate your efforts, many thanks.

  4. Leslie Myles-Sanders says:

    Alistair, your shots are helping me survive Crazytown here in the States. Thank you.

  5. Margo says:

    Lois and Margaret say it well. You even admit what you have NOT yet seen, which, of course, makes us wait in anticipation!

  6. Irene McIlwaine says:

    Just shared your wonderful pictures with some fellow US travellers as we cruise on The Danube They were also very impressed . Thank you again for sharing .

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