Grey Heron

IMG_9729Ardea cinerea at WWT London


“A tall, often solitary bird, the Grey Heron is one of Britain’s most familiar birds. It feeds mainly on fish, but also eats small mammals (even Moles!), waterbirds (sometimes up to the size of a Coot) and Crayfish. It is often seen standing stock-still in the shallow waters of lakes, rivers and ponds, patiently hunting fish flitting about below the surface. It will visit gardens with ornamental ponds, looking for an easy meal” (wildlife trusts.org.)


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London WWT – May 2017

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St James Park – Winter 2016


The old English name for a heron was hragra; other names now largely fallen into disuse include harn, hernser and hernshaw. Heron comes from the French, for the French name is héron céndre. There are 64 different species of herons that differ in size, color and type of habitat. Herons can be found on each continent except on Antarctica. These are photos of the Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)



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Lille Citadel France (April 2017)


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Walthamstow (April 2017)


Common and widespread throughout Britain. The grey heron is known throughout most of temperate Europe, and extends through Russia as far east as Japan. It reaches south through China to India, and is also found in parts of Africa, and in Madagascar


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St James Park


In or near water, they are often standing motionless with their head in their shoulders or feeding alone.


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St James Park


They suffer badly in cold winters when ponds and streams are frozen for prolonged periods. The recent run of mild weathers has helped boost the population. Most heronries are in trees, with the majority of nests at least 25m above the ground. However, reed-bed heronries are not unusual, and they will also nest on cliffs, bushes, sometimes even on buildings of bridges


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St James Park


In flight, the outer half of the wings are black and the wing beat is very slow with the neck retracted into its shoulders and the legs are extended. Herons are excellent flyers that can reach the speed of 30 miles per hour. During the flight, their neck is curled in S-shape, while legs dangle behind the body.


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St James Park


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Connought Water


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St James Park


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Hollow Pond Whipps Cross


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Grey Heron Range (heronconservation.org)