Wednesday, 30 October 2013

127. Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea)

Grey Herons are very widespread throughout Europe and beyond, being sedentary in much of western Europe but migratory in parts of northern and eastern Europe.They are easily recognisable and inhabit a large range of environments including rivers, canals, lakes and ponds in both urban and rural areas. They nest colonially in large trees near water and the juveniles look similar to the adults, but without the white forehead and black stripe on the side of the crown - instead they have a grey forehead and crown and a greyer neck. In flight they hold their neck retracted (like all the herons and egrets), which helps tell them apart from the sometimes similar-ish Common Crane, which holds its neck outstretched when flying. Although common, Grey Herons are always fun to watch, especially if they are fishing - on one particularly memorable occasion I saw a Grey Heron scoff down a fair-sized Pike at Sandwell Valley, it took the heron some time (during which it had a rather fat neck) but it was not to be defeated.

Grey Heron, ©dhobern, via Flickr Creative Commons.
Grey Heron painting.
I was feeling once again with my last few efforts that I had got a bit bogged down in details as I am wont to do, so I tried really hard with this one to not let that happen, and I'm quite please with it. Although I've got the shape a bit wonky, the heron looks a bit off balance.

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