May 4th – In the past couple of days I’ve mused on the sudden explosion in the number of herons on the local canals around Walsall, and also noted the amount of fresh waterfowl hatchlings.
In one journey from Walsall to Darlaston this morning, I saw four lurking herons. But only one coot chick.
It was lunchtime before the connection struck me. The herons are finding food in the tiny new lives that have been nurtured in canalside nests in the last few days and weeks.
I can’t grumble – the herons are doing what herons do, and the reason many clutches are so large or certain species are prolific breeders is precisely because of the attrition of new generations by predators.
But it’s a grizzly thought. These very attentive coot parents were very attentive of their offspring – only 10 metres of so from a patient, waiting heron.