Wild West Yorkshire nature diary
heron heron

A Poacher in Pigtails

Tuesday 4th April 2000
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fantails on their barrel nestboxheron landing A FLIGHT OF FANTAILS prompts me to look out of the studio window. Three of the pigeons have circled around as a Grey Heron lands in the meadow. I keep an old pair of binoculars on the end of the bookshelf, so I pick them up and take a closer look.

The heron looks around, as if to make sure it isn't being observed, then sets off down the field with lolloping gait. Normally a heron has a regal bearing. You'll see one standing aloof in some wild wetland setting, magnificent, with ermine plumage on head, neck and breast.

heron skulking But this one is behaving in a distinctly surreptitious fashion, skulking along like Groucho Marx on a cloak-and-dagger assignment. You can imagine its thought process as it stops behind next door's garden shed and contemplates the risks involved in plundering the fishpond.

flying away It flies up and over the hedge into the garden. I can see just the back of its head as it stands near the pond. Its long black pigtails swish in the breeze.

I can't see whether it helps itself to fresh fish, but a few minutes later it takes off and flies off past the end of the house. It got away with it this time. I just hope my neighbours Geoff and Mary don't read this installment of my diary!

Hope the animation works. I haven't done one for ages, but I'd love to do some more after the fun I've had putting this one together.

Richard Bell
Richard Bell,
wildlife illustrator

E-mail; 'richard@daelnet.co.uk'

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