The Heron’s return

Over the last week or so, I have occasionally caught sight of a large grey heron. I know it as ‘The Heron’, as one like it has been around near the river ever since I have lived in Beetley, and I like to assume that it is the same one. Walking with Ollie today, I was pleased to see it back in the usual spot, near the bend on the river. It stands patiently, staring at the water, waiting to jab its beak in to get the fish as they swim past. It is a large bird, with a similar height and size of a child, and easily disturbed if you do not approach carefully. When it feels uncomfortable, it will fly off, using its very wide wingspan to travel a short distance along the riverbank, resuming its patrol down there.

With the welcome sight of warm sunny weather, I am hoping that the return of this imposing bird heralds the real arrival of summer.

By contrast, the rabbits have all disappeared. Ollie’s favourite game is now denied him, as he has no bunnies to chase. There has not been a single rabbit sighting for a good couple of weeks now, and the entrances to their burrows are overgrown, showing no activity around them. This departure is further confirmed by the absence of the piles of small droppings, always noticeable in the shorter grass. I have no idea why they have vanished, whether they have died out from illness, or predation. They will be missed though, at least by Ollie and myself.

Walking over at Hoe Rough, I sought a break from the afternoon heat, and sat on a fallen tree branch in a shady dell. Ollie scampered off, sniffing and nuzzling, making sure he could still see me. After a few minutes of quiet contemplation, I was delighted to be joined by four small birds. They arrived in the branches above me, and were soon brave enough to begin hopping around on the lowest branches, presumably looking for insects and grubs. They were similar to blue tits, but had long trailing tails. They made a distinctive cheeping sound as they hopped about, and took no notice of me at all, only flying off when Ollie returned.

These small moments with animals, birds, and nature are truly life-enhancing.

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28 thoughts on “The Heron’s return

  1. Lovely post. Very relaxing. Always enjoy walks, real ones and the shared ones with bloggers. It’s a privilege to walk all around in such good company. 🙂

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  2. I never really thought of myself as a “nature person” till I moved far away from the city – to where my neighbors have chickens and it’s not a given that the roads will be paved and I and the bulk of my neighbors live on unincorporated land. Now I take immense joy in hearing the birds and seeing the trees… I miss the city sometimes, but not as often as I expected.

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    1. The longer I am away from cities, the less I miss them. After 60 years in London, I haven’t been back since. I think humans are conditioned to a country lifestyle, and the city is an unnatural development in our history.
      Thanks for the comment Eric. Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Enchanting, Pete – a balm for the disillusioned mind. Without wanting to sully your blog with party politics, I want to say that your conjuring of the East Anglian countryside made me forget for a moment the horror of the Election.

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          1. I felt they were linked – the social wound, the consoling walk. Your heron is a glorious tragic symbol. Read and liked the redflag article, and agreed with it all, only I have a soft spot for Ed Miliband as a man of principle and sincerity – not as a leader, which he patently wasn’t.
            I’m a sucker for the underdog, or, more accurately in his case, the sacrificial goat. Cruel to have elected him leader in the first place. Nauseating to hear the old guard of Blair, Mandelson, even brother David, crowing. Their Schadenfreude is almost as revolting as Tory smugness.
            So many party leaders seem to be elected by default- nobody really wants them, they just want to block somebody else, and assume, wrongly, that the figurehead will be malleable. Isn’t that how Thatcher was born?
            Meanwhile, it’s the 1980s that blighted my early adulthood all over again. I want to be Charlotte Corday.
            Am commenting here, not on the other site, because of the connection between the beauty of nature and the hideousness of what we do to it.
            Stroke Ollie for me!

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          2. I would have liked Alan Johnson to have been the leader. His London working-class roots appealed. I don’t have any time for either of the Miliband brothers, Blair, Mandelson, Balls, et al. They took the Labour Party in the wrong direction, at least for me. There are times when I genuinely mourn the loss of my militant youth, the sense of outrage, the hope for the change that never came.

            Then I go for those walks, and put it all into perspective.

            We cannot have you guillotined for the murder of Marat. That wouldn’t do at all. x

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  3. Pete, a very lovely post, and heartwarming getting up close and personal with nature at its best..

    Take care and happy blogging to ya, from Laura

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    1. Thanks Arlene. I don’t have a camera at the moment. I lent my SLR to my step-son to use for a photo project, and I have yet to get around to buying something new, as I may want to part-exchange the existing one.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

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  4. We have a local heron. Sometimes, two. I did some bird surveys for the BTO in our locality and pretty soon learnt that the same birds were often to be found in the same places – to the extent that my regular roams in the countryside have become a bit like visiting old friends.

    ‘These small moments with animals, birds, and nature are truly life-enhancing.’ Yes! I could not agree more.

    Oh yes – and I do like the new look to your blog 🙂

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    1. Thanks Ros. The response to the change of theme has all been positive, I’m pleased to say.
      The information about the herons is very useful. I feel sure that it is the same one, and your experience tends to confirm that.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  5. Pete, great blue herons are permanent residents at the Clark County Wetlands Park. We’ve seen as many as six different individuals at a time on an average day, and once saw a congregation of hundreds of birds on the banks of the Las Vegas Wash that included a large number of great blue herons. One thing that has always perplexed us is that a great blue heron can be spooked at some distance, but at other times are so approachable that a person can get within six feet of one without disturbing it. In addition to great blue herons, we also enjoy seeing black-crowned night herons and green herons, as well as the similar snowy egrets and great egrets. The Wetlands is a great place for bird watching.

    As for blue tits, I’ve seen the movie Avatar.

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    1. Good one David, I had a chuckle at ‘Avatar’.
      You certainly have an abundance of herons there. And I have to make do with just one…Oh, and two egrets as well.
      Best wishes as always, Pete.

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    1. Thanks for the bird tip Jane, had to be those I reckon. Yes, the weather is supposed to be increasingly warmer next week here; let’s hope that they’re right!
      Best wishes as always, Pete. x

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  6. It’s always lovely to see wildlife. We spotted a red kite flying low over a rapeseed field today, so beautiful to watch (even a glimpse as I was driving), but not so good was the spotting of a very young bunny a couple of weeks ago which allowed me to get very close. Too close for a wild animal. I then noticed that it was blind with signs of Myxomatosis. I do hope your rabbit warren hasn’t suffered a similar fate, it is a horrid disease.

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