Besieged by Herons

It’s nesting time for herons in Regent’s Park.  London has a surprisingly large population of grey herons, partly because of the lakes in the Royal Parks, and partly because the city is slightly warmer in winter than the surrounding countryside.  According to BBC News, there were no herons in London in 1950, and ornithologist James Fisher said it was unlikely that they would ever breed again in London.

One grey heron in Regent's Park in February.
“Am I alone? Will I ever breed again?”

Fisher’s pessimism was misplaced.  By 1985 there were three heronries in London; by 2000 there were 16; and today there are more than twenty breeding pairs in Regent’s Park alone.

Two grey herons in Regent's Park in February.
The beginnings of a siege.

One of the terms used for a group of herons is “a siege of herons”.  But sometimes, like all of us, a heron needs to walk away from the siege to get some peace and quiet.

Heron crossing path in Regent's Park
“I’m going to cross right here; I’m not walking along there to find a pelican crossing.”

Finally, here is a photo taken on my iPhone in the same park last May.  I kept it because I liked the feeling of the bird soaking up the spring sunshine.

Heron in Regent's Park enjoying the May sunlight
“I’m walking on sunshine… and don’t it feel good.”

11 Comments Add yours

    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      You’re right, they are fab – it’s cool to get so close to such big birds.


  1. Great picture – you must have crept up on them well!


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Thank you Lauren. I was patient, and quiet, but it didn’t always work – that’s why one is running across the path.


  2. I spent so much time in Regent’s park 🙂


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      So that’s what the herons are staring at – they are looking for you.
      If you move to Madrid, will there be parks?


      1. I think so… there’s El Retiro and Casa De Campo 🙂

        Those herons sure do stare you out 😉


  3. pollyheath says:

    I love herons — we’ve got them near the river where I’m from. Now I know they’re called a siege!


    1. Karolyn Cooper says:

      Everyone seems to like herons, unless you are competing with them for the fish.


      1. pollyheath says:

        Vegetarian here, so we’re cool! 🙂


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