Country corner

The charismatic heron
The charismatic heron

Yes, I know we have discussed herons before, but how am I supposed to resist when one poses like this?

Check out that all-seeing eye and dagger-like bill.

How wonderful such a large and charismatic bird is still so common and easily watched along our waterways.

There are even a few confiding individuals on our more public stretches of river which have become used to being admired.

These semi-tame herons have become very popular with local photographers as it is easy to wait within range with a telephoto lens until the stalking heron manages to catch a fish.

Eels are frequently seen wriggling in the vice-like grip of a heron’s bill, as are frogs.

Minnows and lampreys are also frequently seen as prey. However, herons will famously eat whatever they can catch including water voles, rats, moles or whatever moves within range of that deadly spear.

Another very familiar aspect of herons is their loud “crank!” call.

For such a large bird they can be hard to spot, but you will soon know if you have 
disturbed a hunting heron by the indignant “crank” and
 sudden appearance of a giant
flying bird not unlike a 
pterodactyl!

In the old days, trout anglers loved to hate this bird.

Fortunately, today’s anglers are a more tolerant bunch, knowing we must live and let live with nature in these crowded isles.

Anyway, what’s not to love, with a bird which in any poll must rank as one of our most handsome and striking fellow species?

George Hogg, Hogg Estate Services, Wildlife Management