[CT Birds] another great big gulp

greg hanisek ctgregh at yahoo.com
Sun Aug 23 12:49:54 EDT 2009

A couple of weeks ago I posted about a Great Egret attempting to eat a Virginia Rail in the marsh behind the warehouses at the end of Long Beach Blvd., Stratford, part of the McKinney Wildlife Refuge.
This morning, amazingly, what had to be the same egret was standing in the saame marsh, in almost exactly the same spot, eating what appeared to be a Semipalmated Sandpiper. The previous time we watched the egret work on the rail for more than 10 minutes and it still hadn't swallowed it when we left. This time the egret dunked the obviously dead sandpiper in water repeatedly between attempts to swallow it, and after about 5 minutes it went down the hatch. Also present were an imm Glossy Ibis and an imm Little Blue Heron.
Nearby in Stratford the STILT SANDPIPER was still at the Michel Pool on Access Road and the LONG-BILLED DOWITCHER was still at the Stratford Marina. I was there at low tide, when it was feeding very close to the entry road with a small group of Short-billed Dowitchers. The hunched "swallowed-a-grapefruit" feeding posture of the Long-billed, which is a quite long-billed individual, was very apparent in direct comparison to its congeners.
Greg Hanisek

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