One of the joys of being able to sit quietly for a few moments is the opportunity to enjoy birds going about their normal business.

It is widely known that many wading birds include fish as part of their diet, but I had not witnessed this from a Tringa type before and was fascinated to watch this Common Greenshank catch and swallow a Mudskipper from the flats at Deep Bay in Hong Kong.

They locate their prey by sight. Without the neck mechanisms that allow herons to strike at the fish, it had to rush forward to grab the mudskipper.

I wondered if it would tip its head back and use gravity to get the meal in, but instead, it tried to use the fish’s inertia, jerking its head forward.

That wasn’t working well. The Mudskippers have a large erectile fin which makes it difficult to swallow, so the Greenshank had to reposition the fish and pin the fin down before trying again.


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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.