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Good morning Floridbirders,

During yesterday's birding at St. Marks NWR, I glassed a laughing gull approaching with what I initially thought was carrying a branch.  But as it flew over my head, I realized that the branch was alive as either its head or tail was grasping at the gull's legs and head.  The light pinkish beige critter appeared to be nearly three quarters the length of the gull.  As the gull proceeded to land on a mudflat in Stoney Bayou Pool #1 roughly 500 feet from my position,  a tri-colored heron made a feeble and unsuccessful attempt to convince the gull to release it's prey.  The gull momentarily released this either very large marine worm or small snake (southeastern crown snake?) to "wash" it in the shallow water before taking it by its head and commencing to try to consume the prey.

 During the gull's attempts to swallow this hapless creature, it had to regurgitate it a couple of times.  All went well, it seemed until the last 2 or 3 inches were still to be consumed.  For then next several minutes, it appeared as if there was a standoff, the gull unable to swallow that final few inches of the unfortunate critter.

Finally, with no end in sight for a final outcome, I picked up my scope and started down the dike.  Wild nature in action.  One never knows what may be just around "the corner".  

Harry Hooper
Tallahassee, Florida
       
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