Unusual herons visit the valley
16 May 2023
The photograph shows a Squacco Heron which has been seen in the valley in the last few days. This heron is rarely seen in England as its normal range only extends as far north as its breeding grounds in southern Europe. It is much smaller than our resident Grey Heron, being only about half the size.
Interestingly, another unusual heron, the Black-crowned Night Heron has also been seen in the valley recently. About the size of a Little Egret but with much shorter legs and neck, it has a much stockier appearance than the Grey Heron. It usually breeds in south-east Europe or Asia as well as North America, so like the Squacco Heron is a rare visitor to these shores. As its name suggests it mainly hunts at night and roosts during the day.
These herons are just the latest of a number of unusual birds which visit the valley from time to time, emphasising the importance of the habitats, such as flood meadows and reedbeds, which are in decline nationally but are so necessary for a wide range of wildlife.