Yesterday’s top Berkeley bird: This great blue heron, which was hunting in the meadow near the off-leash dog area in Chavez Park near the Marina. The place is crawling with ground squirrels, and you see herons and egrets stalking them — or staking out their burrows, anyway — fairly frequently. Other people in the park have told me they’ve seen a heron catch a squirrel — spear it, then swallow it whole. That’s what this one did as we passed yesterday, though I didn’t actually see the spearing part. It tossed its catch into the air and caught it, then took several minutes to work it down. I don’t think it was keen on flying while it was trying to swallow such a big lump of protein, and I was able to approach to about 30 feet with my non-telephoto-equipped digital camera for this shot.

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