Heron fishing in Hebden Water

Took an afternoon walk with Jen from Blake Dean through the woods and along Hebden Water to Gibson Mill in the Hardcastle Crags. We couldn't believe how quiet it was. We saw almost nobody until we reached the mill, whereupon we immediately turned around and headed back.

There were still plenty of bluebells about, although they're getting past their best now. No sign of any dippers, though, which is very unusual for the Hardcastle Crags.

We did, however, spot a heron flying through the trees and landing 100 yards ahead of us. Using the trees as cover, we managed to sneak to within photographing distance as it started to fish in the river.

Heron fishing in Hebden Water
Heron fishing in Hebden Water, surrounded by flies.

The heron must have known that we were there, but it was so intent on its fishing that we were able to get very close while the bird remained utterly motionless. I had never realised before how well the dark, vertical stripes on a heron's neck help to camouflage it, breaking up the bird's outline, allowing it to blend into the surrounding trees. Presumably, this works even more effectively amongst reeds.

Then, with a flailing lunge, the heron pounced into the water, emerged empty-beaked, and flew off through the trees.

Heron taking a flailing lunge
Flailing lunge.

More photos from our walk here, or as a slideshow here.

Leave a Reply