This is a topic that is always of interest and recently I read a few articles that were ‘a little off’ in the details.
So I thought a another simple series with plenty of action shots was over due.
Above is a Bottlenose Dolphin hunting by pushing and stranding fish on shore. The work together as a group, or individually. However, this is a rare hunting skill known only by a few pods of Dolphin of the Lowcountry coast. Basically the taught themselves a new way to fish.
To start the tide and shoreline must be right and safe for a Dolphin to strand themselves on shore. The must be able to roll back into the ocean.
At first a Dolphin swims right along the shore, looking up at the beach (and here me also).
If the feel safe they next herd schools of fish by either swimming around them in circles, splashing and causing confusion, or charging right at them.
Ultimately the fish a driven into the shallows, or on shore. Right behind them are Dolphins catching the trapped fish.
When a 1,000 lb, 11 foot, group of Dolphin hit the shore it’s a loud tidal wave. The entire attack is no more than a few seconds and you never see it coming until the last moment. Always stand away from the shoreline when they are feeding. You will get hurt or scare away the feeding pod.
After the catch a Dolphin will always roll back into the water. They only push to land on their right side. If you ever get to see a dorsal fin of a strand feeder it’s very obvious. One side of their fin is always scraped.
There are groups trying to protect this small group and I don’t think anyone knows how many there actually are that have learned this technique. A guess is maybe 100… in the world since this is the only place it’s been documented.
This article is a little longer than most, but this is a fascinating topic and important to remember as our climate and world change.
First, the best I’ve got is a Laughing Gull. In summer they have a black head, winter they look like this. Except this was taken third week of September. Gulls don’t use calendars so maybe he was a little early.
The one above has a shrimp, or parts there of.
These were taken on a high wooden overlook making the angle a bit interesting. There was a steep bank down to the shoreline here.
It was high enough for the following shots to be at a downward angle. You don’t get to shot Gulls this way often.
Coastal waters, even rivers, here are filled with shrimp giving us a large number of feeding birds at any one time. If you can spot one or two birds fishing chances are there is a good photo op nearby.