“At the confluence of three rivers, 80 hectares of raised wetlands on the south-western edge of Taipei is – Huajiang Waterfowl Nature Park (HWNP).
“Its habitat of grassy, undulating area of water, freshwater ponds, mud and sand flats and grassy marshes play host to many over wintering waterfowls and shorebirds during their annual migration (above).
“Prolonged dry spell in April and with most migratory, short-stay visitors left for home – north, resident birds had whole place to themselves.
“It was field day for Eurasian Magpies (Pica pica sericea) – a largish black and white looking bird species (43-50cm) belonging to the Corvinae family. Known also as Black-billed Magpie, this scavenging species emits a glossy sheen of purplish-blue feathering on its wings and some green on its tail in correct lighting conditions (above).
“Drought caused water edge to recede and left a suffocated fish stranded on the mudflats.
“With a varied diet similar to other scavenging birds, a pair of carrion Eurasian Magpies was observed to waste no time foraging on the fish carcass- their three course luncheon (above, below).
“Like fish connoisseurs, the quicker bird dug in first for the fish eyeball. The rest… let’s take a look at the following video clippings.
“The eyeball gone, the eye socket was second dish on the menu.
“Pulling and tugging on the eye socket… it slipped (above).
“Persistence paid off and Pica2 demolished the remnant in a jiffy (above).
“Bird then turned around for third course meal (above).
Pica2 proceeded to probe under gill flap of the fish (above).
“It was sushi gills for desert (above).
“Opportunity to observe further for any chance of a ‘bungkus’- take away- sending dead fish on an astral body travel, did not materialised.
“Rains finally came. While Avian Writer packed up DGscope, Pica pica sericea decided too there would be no fish undertakers that day and flew…”
Avian Writer Daisy O’Neill
1st September 2015
Copy article and all Copy Images – Courtesy of Daisy O’Neill Bird Conservation Fund