The lovely, light evenings are slowly getting shorter as each day nightfall begins slightly earlier. A few days ago I visited Arrow Valley Lake in Redditch, Worcestershire. The lake holds two islands, one slightly larger than the other. Whilst strolling along the edge of the lake I spotted a few Grey Herons. I always used to think of Herons as being friendly waders who occasionally jutted their beaks into the dark, murky waters to catch a small fish now and then. In actual fact they are quite large birds having wingspans of nearly one-and-a-half metres. They have eagle-like eyes for spotting food whilst they often perch aloft, quite still on a sturdy branch or dead tree they pose as a stone statue. When they spot the possibility of a meal whether it is a fish, a chick or even a baby rabbit they will usually manage to take it in their firm beaks and swallow it whole. They will take anything that will pass down their throats (these are mostly the young of other waders, or rodents). They will also take the occasional frog or larger insect. They have a propensity to congregate their living quarters in a similar fashion to rooks.
Herons – moving sculpture at Arrow Valley Country Park Visitors Centre, Arrow Valley Lake
The above metal sculpture is positioned in a pond that is sited outside the Arrow Valley Country Park Visitors Centre … there are two herons which move upwards and downwards alternately in the reeds. They keep peeping out at the visitors as the enter and leave the visitors centre – a really charming piece of sculpture that captures the essence of a nature reserve.