Vis & water

Aalscholver slokt grote snoek op (EN)

08 feb 2008

In dit bericht aandacht voor een serie foto's van een aalscholver, die een snoek van flink formaat verorbert. De foto's zijn genomen door amateur fotograaf Stewart Canham (61), vlakbij Salisbury. Bron:

Snapped! The moment a fearsome pike is swallowed whole by a ravenous cormorant. Comments With its rows of needle-sharp teeth, the pike is a feared predator in the water world.

But this one hadn't a hope when a hungry cormorant decided it was supper time. The bird pounced on the foot-long pike with its hooked bill and pulled it to the surface of a lake.

The two antagonists grappled for a few seconds before, in one swift movement, the magnificent bird extended and twisted its neck in preparation for supper.

Its highly elastic throat allowed the cormorant to gobble the pike down whole within seconds. These shots of nature in the raw were captured by amateur photographer Stewart Canham, 61, as he sat quietly in a lakeside hide. He lifted his camera after spotting the cormorant out of the corner of his eye. The amazing scene, at Langford Lakes in Steeple Langford, near Salisbury, Wilts, was all over within 10 seconds. At the end, Mr Canham snapped the bird with just the fishtail poking out of its beak.

Mr Canham, from Gillingham, Dorset, said: "I had been in a hide for about an hour when I saw a cormorant going for a pike out of the corner of my eye.

"It kept diving under the water and then I saw the white belly of the pike on the surface so I quickly jumped into action with my camera.

"The cormorant was desperately trying to get the pike into its mouth but it was struggling. "Then the bird suddenly stretched out its neck and twisted it before swallowing the pike down in one. Mr Canham was delighted with his luck. "Quite often I manage to get pictures of birds after they have swallowed their dinner but never a sequence of the event as good as this," he said. "It was an amazing sight that was all over in the blink of an eye."

Sophie Atherton, from the RSPB, said cormorants can swallow creatures up to two-and-a-half feet long. She said: "Cormorants have been recorded to eat 86 different species of fish from tiny fry to two-and-a-half-foot-long conger eels. "They have an elasticated throat and a special hinged beak that enables them to eat large creatures. "Basically they pull their distended neck out of shape to get the giant fish down." She added: "Records have shown that a cormorant was once found to have an 11-and-a-half-inch kitten in its stomach. "Obviously, an incident like this is extremely rare but it shows how big they can stretch out their throats." The cormorants are such good hunters that in China fishermen use them to catch their fish. Throat rings are placed around the necks of the birds to prevent them from swallowing their catch.


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