We tend to prepare ourselves
for eating shellfish with a finger bowl, a side plate and a napkin at the
But this grey heron at Leighton Moss opted to down a crab lunch in one and was caught on camera by David Poole.
Mr Poole said: “Herons are one
of my favourite birds and I was amused to see it catch this crab while
photographing it fishing. I couldn’t believe my eyes when it gulped it straight
down in one!”
photo was then spotted by the nature reserve staff when it was posted on to the
Leighton Moss ‘Flickr’ group on the internet.
Walker, Visitor Officer at RSPB Leighton Moss, said: “If you spend a bit of
time watching wildlife you can witness some very odd and amusing things. Herons
are great fun to watch as they are often trying to eat things that look
impossible to swallow.”
“Herons aren’t fussy eaters but
you’d have thought an angry crab would be best avoided!”
The heron is one of the UK’s
largest native birds and grey herons are also common around garden ponds. They can be seen all year round
and until September they could still be breeding too.
The heron is an unmistakable
grey and white bird with a huge wing span, long legs and neck and a powerful
beak. In flight, with a kinked neck, it has a touch of the pre- historic about
it and resembles a pterodactyl. Despite its size, many people
will have never seen a heron. There are less than 15 thousand pairs in the UK
and the RSPB says that to have one in your garden is actually quite an honour.
Herons are best known for
eating fish, but sometimes they will vary their diet with more unusual
creatures, such as frogs and water voles.
Although pond owners have mixed emotions about them because of their fishing
prowess, there are ways to enjoy both your fish-filled pond and herons. Plenty of plants, both floating
and submerged are a good repellent as they will give the fish hiding places. You could add to these by
sinking suitably sized pipes in the water to create a fish refuge so they will
be very difficult for herons to see let alone catch. A trip wire around the pond
will prevent the heron from landing and then walking towards it. Thick vegetation close to the
pond will also make access difficult and this too would attract all manner of
other wildlife from insects to birds. Taut netting is another obvious
solution. However, one solution that almost
certainly won’t work is a widely available plastic heron. Herons often feed
close together and they may even be attracted by a static replica!
For more information on
gardening for wildlife visit www.rspb.org.uk/hfw or for more information about the
wildlife you can see at Leighton Moss please phone 01524 701601 or visit www.rspb.org.uk/leightonmoss.