In an area near where I work in Monterey, I often walk during the noon hour and end up in a meadow that is much-beloved to red-winged blackbirds.
The other day I saw something unusual, though - as I walked into the meadow, I noticed a large bird - some sort of crane, I reckon - with a large black snake half-swallowed. When it (the bird) noticed me, it flew off several dozen yards, and then landed again at the far end of the meadow, standing there again, with the snake dangling. The snake must have been already dead, because it wasn't flopping around. I walked toward it/them to get a better look. The bird then lifted its head skyward, gulped down the snake, and flew off.
I didn't know cranes or crane-like birds ate snakes, and I'd never seen a big black (or dark brown) snake around here before. Is this normal behavior? What type of bird was it, probably? What type of snake was it, probably?
Hopefully not a rattlesnake, because they give me the fantods, even though I've only gotten close enough to to hear one rattle once.