When I was at junior school I went on a science field trip and the teacher was complaining about grey herons. “Apart from humans,” he said, “grey heron are the only creatures that kill for the sake of it.” I took him at his word and it tainted my opinion of the heron, until we adopted a cat. I saw taking great joy in playing with a mouse before killing it, which made me realise that his assertion wasn’t quite right. We then moved out into the countryside to live next to one of the Norfolk Broads and I got to see these wonderful creatures, which are known by their colloquial name of ‘hanser’ close up.
I have never seen a heron kill just “for the sake of it” and I don’t know if that assertion of the teachers was true. Looking back, I suspect he had a goldfish pond that a heron had feasted on.
Out on my bike early this morning I cycled past a few of these wonderful birds. I had hoped to capture photos of the three egrets there, but they were sticking to fishing in the shade of the far bank. Too far away and in far too little light for my camera.
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