Tail of the unexpected

heron 1

Heron, Chesterfield Canal

For our Sunday afternoon walk this week we decided to go down the Green Mile at the Chesterfield Canal, as we hadn’t been there for a few weeks.

As soon as we got out of the car, we saw a heron standing on the opposite side of the bank, really close to us.  As we approached, we thought he would fly away, but he didn’t, and stood there stalking.  We took the opportunity of snapping a few pictures while he was obliging.

He walked stealthily towards the edge of the bank as though he had seen something to catch.  He had.  But not what we thought!  We expected him to come up with a fish in his beak, but instead he had caught a mouse!

heron 2

He struggled to get it down (think he was a young heron as he was quite small), but did so eventually, after tossing it around in his beak a few times.

heron 3

heron 4

After we watched him swallow it whole, we continued our walk down the canal.  We didn’t see much else that afternoon, apart from a few linnets and a lovely baby robin.

Returning to the car, we were surprised to find that he was still standing in the same spot, looking for more food, still with blood on his beak from the previous meal!

heron 5

We’ve never seen a heron eat a mouse before, and it will certainly be a memorable birding experience for us.

 

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