Watching nature take its course, from the top of a hill in northern England

Second Helpings



I started feeding the pond fish yesterday, I was sat in quite contemplation, marveling how the fish seem to grow in size through the winter months, as though it is warm water and sunshine that makes them grow ( it can’t be so, can it? Or fish of the northern Arctic waters would never grow bigger than tiddlers, would they?) When a large shadow swept across the pond. The heron was back for second helpings

Big bird

It looked a bit startled and more than a little miffed to see me sat there, no doubt the heron could see all the fish, gobbling up their feed as it approached, looking like easy pickings. It banked away into the trees; you might remember in the last post on this topic, I was wondering how they know which branch can hold their weight? The answer is they don’t; there was a loud crack and an undignified fall and flap through the canopy as the tip of a sycamore sapling gave way under the herons weight: now I understand exactly how my young alder tree lost its lead shoot, and I was blaming the squirrels, sorry squirrels. This heron is rather bold, I managed to get much closer than last time.

Big bird 2

It strikes me you don’t get much meat on a heron drumstick. (

yes I know they are protected by law.) I was thinking of Tudor times

I watched it and it watched me, for quite a while, click away now if you are bored of heron silhouettes


Big bird 4

Big bird 5

Big bird 3


Author: uphilldowndale

Watching the rhythm of rural life, from the top of a hill in northern England. Having spent most of my life avoiding writing, I now need to do it! I am no domestic goddess, but if I were expecting visitors to my home, I would whisk round with the duster and plump up the cushions and generally make the place look presentable. I hope that by putting my words where others may see them it will encourage me to ‘tidy up and push the Hoover around’ my writing. On the other hand I may just be adding to the compost heap. Only time will tell! Pull up a chair, sit yourself down, I’ll put the kettle on.

16 thoughts on “Second Helpings

  1. Excellent shots, a very nice series.

    I think perhaps I shall have a heron atop the Christmas tree this year…

  2. Oh Mrs. Uhdd these are spectacular! And the story is hilarious. Observing nature is so instructive. I wonder what the fluffing up with the crest and the chest feathers means? Do you suppose he was flirting with you? Or trying to intimidate you? Or just showing off?

  3. Oh these heron photos are excellent. We often see Great Blue Herons here but never that close. I too was thinking that there didn’t seem to be much meat on those drumsticks. They certainly are long and lean aren’t they? I love the silhouette their necks make.

    Was surprised to see the photos of the heron perched on a spruce tree. What balance, what grace. I would have thought they’d have webbed feet but I guess they don’t.

    Thanks for sharing.

  4. I didn’t know about the flies around herons. So if you stink of fish, you’re going to get them too? Maybe this is why there are so many flies on the walking bridge along the salt marsh where we often see herons and fish.

  5. Amazing photos – I’m never bored of silhouettes – and what a gorgeous close up.

  6. Wonderful photos, and I love that first one! xx

  7. there is something prehistoric about them! it always makes me shiver seeing one take off. i caught this shot of one on a canal

  8. Fantastic shots, Uhdd!! I can’t believe that one of the heron flying directly overhead – so cool! Yes, their drumbsticks wouldn’t make for a satisfying meal, would they?

  9. I fin Herons a bit, well creepy. But those pictures are exquisite!

  10. Wow! These are amazing shots. The herons that visit our pond are so shy that I have a hard time getting pictures of them even with the zoom.

  11. Wonderful! Although the heron may have flown off still hungry, we were certainly treated to a feast of photos! Now you even have more to add to your silhouette series! Herons are such primitive looking birds ~ their patience is remarkable. We have the great blue heron here, and I find them quite fascinating.

  12. the local heron use to pinch my goldfish so i the end i turned the UV lamp off and although the pond is green the fish are happier

    cool pictures uphill

  13. Buy a steel grid and place it one inch under the surface, saves kids and fish.

    Love Herons, but I am not supplying them with food.

    • It’s way too big for a grid! When we built it we didn’t know what we were doing; so the sides are steeper than is ideal for planting, but it does mean herons can’t wade in, they won’t just step into deep water; so we don’t lose many fish, and they breed prolifically so a balance is maintained

  14. Stunning photography! I enjoy your observations of the natural world.

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