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The Heron and the Fish That Didn’t Get Away

SONY DSCIt’s not exactly in Parwich, but we do urge you when you are next in London with a few hours to kill, to consider visiting the London Wetlands Trust site in Barnes.

For a start you wouldn’t believe you were in London at all; it kept reminding us rather of the Norfolk Broads. Daughter Ruthie took us there for the day last Sunday – a wonderfully warm, sunny day, just perfect for strolling through the different areas and watching all the birds. As you can imagine, John was in his element, with his interest in birds and photography: his camera was almost red hot  and even I got somewhat carried away with my little mobile phone camera…

SONY DSCThe highlight of a lovely day was half an hour spent watching a heron as he eventually speared a fish. We were very close, but the heron was concentrating so intently he did not seem to notice, or mind. The scene was so gripping I completely forgot my camera, but fortunately John did not. He took a series of photographs over the thirty or so minutes we watched and waited, almost as patiently as the heron itself. Do have a look at the ‘Fish That Didn’t get Away’ in our Photo Gallery.

SONY DSCYou will see how the heron ‘stalked’ the fish – the only movement being an almost imperceptible tautening of his long neck, until startlingly suddenly, he struck. Up he came out of the water with this largish fish, flapping and wriggling, speared between his clamped beaks. The heron then very patiently, without letting the fish wriggle away, managed to manoeuvre it round until it was lengthways on, headfirst.

With an enormous gulp he swallowed it, and it was a struggle to get the thing down. We watched as the outline of the large shape gradually went down his throat as the heron kept scooping gulps of water up in his beak, and swallowing as one might with a large pill that wouldn’t go down.SONY DSC

What a sight! We felt so privileged to have seen it, and what is more in such a wonderful peaceful, watery setting just minutes from all the bustle and urban noise that is London.SONY DSC

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