Saturday, January 24, 2009

Night Heron, West Hythe, Kent

Lightning struck twice at the Royal Military Canal late last year when a second rare heron appeared at this fish-rich, though otherwise unremarkable, location. Following the Green Heron (see here), a Night Heron was found around two weeks after the Nearctic visitor was last seen, and was even using the same branches and fishing spots. The crepuscular Night Heron is a cosmopolitan species found in five Continents though this bird probably originated from breeding colonies in France or the Netherlands.

This was the first weekend I could manage down there, and despite the inaccurate forecast of clear skies and also no reports for a couple of days, I managed to watch the bird from the same spot I had been in some 11 weeks previously. Most of the time it had its head tucked in while it roosted, as you’d expect at this time of day. About midday it awoke for a bit of stretching but just 10 minutes later it was flushed by some dogs and some locals climbing down the bank behind it. It flew south down the canal and out of sight. I waited around until about 1540h but wasn’t seen again, despite others searching an extensive area. Probably sleeping at a less disturbed locality. The afternoon was fairly noisy with various Neanderthals roaming around with guns though one positive consequence of this was some nice views of a Woodcock flying overhead along the course of the canal. Just a thought... can someone let me know in advance before the Little Bittern arrives to complete the hat trick in the spring?

Larger photos here:


Anonymous said...

excellent capture. Well done.

Anonymous said...

I wouldnt mind keeping something like this in a cage in my house...much nicer than a budgie!

Fraser Simpson said...

... and I'm sure it wouldn't mind removing a couple of your fingers - a bit like an irate female budgie :-)