The grey heron, a little egret and my granny.

Lately I have seen a grey heron chilling out in the shallow, trickling stream running by work. He or indeed she stands perfectly still – not even moving an inch while I slow right down in the car to take in the scene. This makes me think it would be a great competitor in a game of musical statues – it would definitely win against us twitching humans. The image of a heron prancing around to disco music is quite amusing. I reckon you would have to watch out for the wings though. Being hit by one of them would be pretty lethal.

Its still relatively early at 0730. I am feeling quite groggy and would rather be back in bed. I wonder if the heron is feeling the same – it does look quite grumpy. Perhaps it has a hangover – that would explain the irritable expression it is currently wearing. Or it could be awaiting a long day at work like me – the options are endless really. I am probably over thinking it however and its more than likely just hungry. I have walked this stream once before with my boyfriend (once again in the search for fish) so know there are some trout nestled in the reeds. It is only a  matter of time before one of them makes the fatal mistake of swimming within striking distance.

I like seeing a heron.  The first reason for this is their appearance.  They are pretty odd looking birds with long, lanky legs, hunched back and, what looks like to me, a long curling black eyebrow which definitely needs a bit of a trim. I also like seeing them because they  remind me of my granny. She will be pleased to know this is not in appearance. Although I suppose there is a slight resemblance when it comes to colour of plumage. And it is not because this granny, like the heron, eats mostly fish – however my other granny does. The granny it reminds me of is the one who lives just down the road from where we were brought up. She has a lovely big garden with four ponds which were great for exploring when we were wee. On many an occasion my older brother and cousin won live goldfish in plastic bags full of water (pretty sure you cannot win them like this now) at our local agricultural show. They would put them proudly in her small pond giving them a grand new home. With that Mr Heron would arrive, fly in all high and mighty, swoop down to the pond and grab one of the poor wee unsuspecting goldfish. It was pretty devastating. The goldies never lasted long. I wonder how nice a goldfish even tastes to a heron. I cannot imagine it being hugely  satisfying and massively delicious.  However I suppose they cannot be fussy. It is not like they can wander in to Tesco’s, stalk up to the fish counter and pluck out a fully dressed crab or if they were feeling plush a couple of scallops or even lobster. If they could though I bet they would have an absolute field day.

After seeing the heron a fair few times I was disappointed one morning to find it was not there. Where was it? Perhaps it had discovered Tesco after all. Or it had had enough of me gawking at it first thing in the morning. I still slowed down though and peering into the dim morning light searched for its distinctive figure. No sign of it in the usual position. However I saw instead a bird all dressed in white – similar in structure to the heron but smaller. I began getting pretty excited and immediately forgot about my heron friend. Could it be a little egret? I had only seen one in books before so was not 100% sure. With that I whipped out my phone and did some quick googling. After looking at some pictures and scanning the RSPB identification page I concluded that it was in fact a little egret. Feeling pretty chuffed with myself I crept into the work car park and began my day. It was gone by the time I left work and I have not seen it since. However on the plus side now I know it may be there with the heron I will certainly keep my eyes peeled for it or any other bird which may be lurking in the area. Perhaps come summer time I will see a grey wagtail or two. A bird  which funnily enough is much brighter than you would imagine with its lovely yellow underparts. Something which I never understood as a child – why was it not called the grey and yellow wagtail?  Then again why is the red panda called a panda when it is in fact more closely related to a racoon, skunk and weasel. So much arguments along these lines exist. It is best not to delve to deeply in to it!

So there you have it. If I had not noticed the heron at the beginning of week I probably would not have noticed the wee egret the other day too. It definitely beats the usual sightings on the way to work – an army of pigeons ever intent on dive-bombing the car.

For those who are interested here is a link to more information of the little egret:

https://www.rspb.org.uk/birds-and-wildlife/bird-and-wildlife-guides/bird-a-z/l/littleegret/

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