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Sunday, February 17, 2013

Tattler-tale

I'm excited to share a tale about a tattler.  This afternoon I took a short break to watch some shorebirds feeding among the algae and waves on the intertidal rocks.  Most of the time it feels impossible to identify exactly what the birds are eating, so I was a little surprised when a Wandering Tattler caught something quite large.  Can you tell what it is? 


This happened pretty quickly, but I captured several views on film.  The first photo (above) shows the back of the prey, while the next photo (below) shows the prey flipped over, belly-side up.


The next image displays the prey from the side.


This tattler caught a small fish, probably a sculpin, although I'm not sure which species. I found one reference that talked about Wandering Tattlers catching freshwater sculpins at a lake in Alaska, but I don't know how often they eat marine sculpins.  Examples of other prey listed for Wandering Tattlers include the following: aquatic insects (flies, crane flies, stoneflies, caddisflies, midges), polychaete worms, snails, amphipods, and small crabs.

Here's one more view, this time with the sculpin facing you.  Seems like quite a bill-full for the tattler!


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