Thursday 1 August 2013

Night-heron in Leicestershire

I quite like Leicestershire these days. The local birders are a nice, old bunch and there are some decent sites to visit a stones throw from our home just over the border in North Warwickshire. I had only visited Thornton Reservoir for the first time earlier this year to see a handsome male Grey-headed Wagtail and I was pretty impressed with the area. It is a nice relaxing place to have a meander around, especially on a balmy summers evening. So with a Night-heron making the place its temporary home for a while, I along with Nadia and my daughter India decided to brave the heat and take a peek at the rare visitor from continental Europe.  

Thornton Reservoir viewed from the north-west arm.
Photo by Adam Archer

On the walk around to the north-west corner of the reservoir we bumped into a couple of friendly faces including Johnny Hague and Colin Green who furnished us with the up-to-date information regarding the skulking scarcity. As we arrived at the viewing area we bumped into a few more familiar faces including Mike Feely and John Jennings. The first summer Night-heron was initially hunched up roosting amongst some over-hanging willows at the waters edge. After a while though its attention became focussed upon a solitary Moorhen chick casually swimming around underneath it, totally oblivious to the potential danger it was in. The heron obviously thought about making a strike at the fluffy youngster but soon gave up on the idea. Maybe it just considered it too cute to swallow but maybe it had more to do with the lower branches of the willows being too spindly to take the herons weight whilst it honed in on its target.

Night-heron (first summer) - Thornton Reservoir, Leicestershire.
Photo by Adam Archer

With the sun going down the bird then became a bit more showy and it ventured out into full view. After about twenty minutes it then took flight providing us all with some pretty nice views as it did a couple of circuits of its favoured corner of the reservoir. Eventually though it headed back to exactly the same spot as took off from. This was only my fifth Night-heron in Britain but it was Nadia's first.

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