Friday, July 31, 2009

Fish-eating birds flock to Marina for a good meal

Fish-eating birds flock to Marina for a good meal
The beautiful sandy beach at Marina Promenade is not only popular with sightseers, it is also a hot spot for fish-eating birds, says STOMPer Angler.

While there recently, the sender spotted many birds standing on the shore, waiting for a chance to scoop their prey out of the waters.

In an STOMPer Angler says:

"One morning I was at the corner of Queen Elizabeth Walk and Marina Promenade looking out to the sea and the Merlion.

"Just below me was a short stretch of sandy beach and at low tide, many birds gathered to wait for the fish to arrive.

"I spotted this bird that was patiently waiting for about 10 minutes (photo 1) for the tide to bring in a shoal of fish.

"Suddenly this hawk-eyed bird saw a school of fish coming in with the wave. It stood still and once within earshot, quickly penetrated the water with its beak. Lo and behold it caught a small fish and its patience was rewarded.

"It then flew off to a nearby tree to enjoy its catch."

Fish-eating birds flock to Marina for a good meal

The bird is a little heron (Butorides striatus) or striated heron, our most common and widespread heron species. This is a bird that can be found in a large number of marine and freshwater habitats throughout Singapore, from mangroves and rocky shores to rivers and marshes, and even to ponds and canals in urban areas.

(Photo by mjmyap)

Some little herons are known to use lures to increase their chances of success while fishing; using small objects such as leaves, feathers, or even pieces of bread, these individuals will place the item on the surface, and wait for curious fish to swim close enough. They hence qualify as one of a handful of birds to actually use some sort of 'tool' to obtain food.