The Grey Heron – capable fish catcher. Part 4

Competent fishing

Day 4 of my week of watching the Grey Herons fishing on the Peak Forest canal was rewarded with some decent results as the heron plucked out a number of fish in quick succession.

In keeping with most of the herons we see this chap was feeding alone and wading with great stealth in the plants along the canal bank.

For a large bird they have great poise and even at the moment they strike there is still a calm and unruffled elegance to their behavior. It seems to me that their ‘strike rate’ is pretty high and on most occasions once committed to going for their prey they come up with their catch


As I have written before the speed of the final action is impressive – a quick stab down into the water and the fish is caught and held tightly. I have read that on occasions the heron will put the fish onto the bank and break it up into smaller pieces but I have never seen that as the fish that I have seen being caught are manageable in one go – and always swallowed head first so as to avoid any of the spines sticking in the herons throat.

You can certainly see this ‘head first’ approach in some of the pictures below and in the previous parts of this heron watch blog – click the links for previous posts: Part 1; Part 2 and Part 3.

Follow this link for the fifth and final part of this week heron watch

Photo gallery

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