Average lifespan: 5 years
When to seeJanuary to December
AboutA tall, often solitary bird, the grey heron is one of the UK's most familiar birds. It feeds mainly on fish, but also eats small mammals (even Moles!), waterbirds (sometimes up to the size of a Coot) and Crayfish. It is often seen standing stock-still in the shallow waters of lakes, rivers and ponds, patiently hunting fish that flit about below the surface. It will visit gardens with ornamental ponds, looking for an easy meal.
How to identifyThe heron is an easily recognised, grey-backed bird, with long legs, a long, white neck, bright yellow bill and a black eyestripe that continues as long, drooping feathers down the neck. Flies with its long legs stretched out, but its neck pulled in.
In our area
One of the best places to see grey herons is at The Mere in Ellesmere. Moscow Island, which lies 40m off the shore by The Boathouse holds an impressive heronry and dozens of these majestic birds can be seen sitting on their nests from February until June. Ellesmere Heronwatch www.heronwatch.org.uk volunteers are on hand in the cafe there to answer questions. There is also live video footage of the nests on display. video films of the herons and their chicks.