Thursday, June 12, 2014

Danger Lurks on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge...

On this, "Throw Back Thursday."  I look back to April 2013, when I witnessed an incredible take down on the East Pond at Jamaica Bay Wildlife Refuge, in Queens New York.  I was counting birds on the South End of the East Pond, paying close attention to the number of Snowy Egrets, which was definitely going to trip the eBird filters, when suddenly I was alerted to the wariness of the birds in the southern most east corner of the pond.

The Snowy Egrets, Little Blues and Great Egrets that had congregated at that end, all seemed wary.  It wasn't my presence since I happened to be at an acceptable distance, but instead it was the lucking presence of a Great Black-backed Gull, that apparently had them worried.  Like those birds I sensed there was trouble brewing, but the lone Glossy Ibis feeding by itself did not seem too concerned.

As I watched the GBBG sidle up to the Glossy Ibis with intent in its eyes, I had this sinking feeling that this bird was going to get whacked! I had seen GBBG take out ducks before but never a bird as big as a Glossy Ibis. Maybe, I was too worried.  Wrong!! It happened very quickly, the GBBG once within striking distance, made a vicious jab at the Glossy Ibis and immediately the damage was done.  Even though it tried to pull away, the GBBG held on and began to drag it down all the while jabbing away.  I was stunned!!  Recovering from the initial onslaught, I managed a few digiscope shots of the bird as it was being eaten alive.

It was not a pretty sight but this take down was all part of the circle of life and this Great Black-backed Gull, proved what a beast it is, in terms of driving fear into the hearts of its peers. Murder on the East Pond, I hope I don't witness too much of that in the future.

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catharus said...

Wow!! Thanks for sharing that!
Yes, I was stunned last November seeing a GBBG go after a Ruddy Duck; several times trying to drown it before it gave up, with an approaching BAEA.

catharus said...

Wow! Yeh, those GBBG are ruthless! I saw one attempt to drown a Ruddy Duck last fall at Bombay Hook NWR.