River Critters


canadian goose swimming in the ipswich river        canadian geese and babies swimming in the ipswich river


male otter on top of the very dry ipswich river mills dam        river otter playing and hunting for fish in the ipswich river

ipswich river otter eating fish on the ice        otter sticking his tongue out at me

photo project part 7 2011-2015 ipswich ma otters        photo project part 7 2011-2015 ipswich ma otters

river otter climbing on top of the dry ipswich mills dam        male otter catching and eating fish in the fresh water above the ipswich river mills dam


beaver in the snowy ipswich river        beaver eating leaves in the ipswich river

wee baby beaver on a rock in the ipswich river        wee baby beaver swimming in the ipswich river


painted turtle relaxing on a log in the ipswich river        ipswich river snapping turtle

snapping turtle entering the river from the storm drainage system below our yard        snapping turtle poking his head out of the ipswich river


northern water snake swimming in the ipswich river below the ipswich mills dam        northern water snake approaching the blocked off fish ladder in the ipswich river


kingfisher on the ipswich riverwalk bridge        a juvenile kingfisher sitting in a tree over the ipswich river


ipswich river great blue heron scaring ducks off the waterfall / dam        great blue heron after catching a fish

great blue heron shaking himself off like a dog after catching a fish        great blue heron flying to the other side of the river with his fish


cormorant in an epic battle with a lamprey eel in the ipswich river        cormorant in an epic battle with a lamprey eel in the ipswich river

cormorant in an epic battle with a lamprey eel in the ipswich river        cormorant in an epic battle with a lamprey eel in the ipswich river

cormorant in an epic battle with a lamprey eel in the ipswich river        cormorant in an epic battle with a lamprey eel in the ipswich river


mallard ducks in our window box        ipswich river mallard duck and babies

ipswich river hooded merganser duck        ipswich river goldeneye duck

ipswich river bufflehead duck        ipswich river mallard ducks


ipswich river snowy egret        ipswich river snowy egret


ipswich river mink on the rocks        ipswich river mink on the rocks


ipswich river big green frog on a rock        ipswich river big green frog at dusk

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  1. You have a fascinating blog, I just ran across those “cormorant vs eel” shots again and they still make me curious haha! The bird looks quite determined to consume such a huge thing and she managed it down fully (the eel does look stuck, bulging out in that stretchy neck!) and with no harm to itself?? Wouldn’t the eel in this second shot be able to retrograde out? Even once (somehow) in the stomach, wouldn’t the potential prey be frantic to turn around and escape?! I have recently heard eels produce a lot of slime that acts as a protective coating and makes them quite slippery! The cormorant must be enjoying it’s catch here, but it seems short lived. I can only wonder what the possible eel of a meal is thinking! 😉

  2. Cool blog and pictures! I initially noticed your two “cormorant vs eel” photos and I have never seen such an event before. So that looks like a huge struggling eel captured here, but in the end the cormorant won the battle really? Does the bird simply manage to swallow it down desperately wriggling about the whole way as well?! I wonder also if that eel stood any slim chance of escaping the hungry birds stomach and how it manages to consume it bones and all? Thanks for the info/feedback, keep it up!

    • Nine Dark Moons

      Thanks for the comment and compliment, Kyle! Welcome to ninedarkmoons.com! We often see the cormorants and eels battling in the river outside our house. Sometimes the eels get away, but not after they’ve been swallowed. Yes, the cormorants gulp down the eels wriggling the whole way into their bellies – bones and all! Somehow they are able to digest the entire thing. They eat fish too, bones and all.

      • Oh interesting! It’s hard to imagine how the shocked prey would react once it reached the supposed final destination! Wouldn’t the lamprey bite/thrash and possibly damage the birds stomach/insides?? I can’t help but pity the poor preys fate alittle. Ironic how once inside it would be only an inch or two away from a much better/healthier habitat, the water!

        • Nine Dark Moons

          Well, lamprey eels don’t have teeth, just a raspy ridge in their mouths, so they can’t do any damage to the cormorants – they’re basically just squishy snakes. yes, they must be quite shocked to find themselves suddenly out of the water and in a bird’s belly!

          • Just stumbled across this cool/interestingblog again! I have never witnessed an event like this before. I can’t grasp how the bird digests the entire eel, does it really stand 0 chance of escaping its belly once inside?! I wonder what the conversation would be between the bird and eel and if the cormorant would ever spare it from becoming a meal??

            You have some other great photos as we’ll keep it up!


            • Thanks, Kyle! Welcome back I don’t think the cormorant would ever spare it once it was swallowed – the cormorant is thinking “Yum, delicious eel dinner!”

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