Lake with heron in foreground and large house beyond
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Gallery: a Grey Heron at Osterley Park (and friends)

The elegant Georgian house at Osterley Park was once home to the wealthy banking family, the Childs. Queen Elizabeth I visited the manor house that once stood on this site, and the present house, designed by Robert Adam, has seen many other wealthy and important visitors over the years.

Today it is in the ownership of the National Trust who of course charge for entry to the house and its small formal garden. But the surrounding parkland is free to visit and is popular with locals who come to walk their dogs, picnic in fine weather and generally enjoy this beautiful landscaped open space. Despite the noise of traffic on the nearby M4 motorway it feels tranquil and far removed from hectic modern life. The view of the house from the far side of the large lake is particularly pretty, even on the November day when we last visited.

On that occasion we found someone who certainly appreciated the park’s tranquillity. This Grey Heron was posing very nicely among the reeds and bullrushes. Although close to the path, he seemed unfazed by the passing people and dogs. Even when we approached closer to take our photos he barely moved, just turning his head from time to time. It was a great opportunity to get some detailed shots of a bird I love to see but rarely get this close to.

So unusually for this week’s Bird Weekly challenge of ‘birds beginning with H’ I am focusing mainly on this single bird. Although rather more usually for me, I am sharing possibly too many photos of him!

Close-up view of large grey heron

Meanwhile further afield (and longer ago)

I can’t resist throwing in a few more herons from trips further afield; starting with a visit to Washington State in the US:

Large grey bird with long neck, wading
Great Blue Heron in Winslow on the Olympic Peninsula

And to the Galápagos Islands, with a not very good photo of a Lava Heron with some marine iguanas on Espanola Island. The Lava Heron is also sometimes known as the Galápagos Heron. It is a wading bird, endemic to the islands. These small herons live and nest along the lava rock coastlines, as well as by saltwater lagoons and in the mangrove forests.

Small grey bird and red and black iguanas on rocks by the sea
Lava Heron and marine iguanas on Espanola

Plus a couple of slightly better shots of Yellow-crowned Night Herons on Genovese, one a juvenile. These can be found all over the Americas so unlike the Lava Heron are not endemic here.

The Grey Heron photos are from a November 2020 visit to Osterley Park. I visited Washington in 2017 and the Galápagos in 2012

10 Comments

  • Lisa Coleman

    Sorry for the late response. Life is so busy and we had our Independence Day “weekend” plus Hurricane Elsa. Not that I went out to do anything for either occasion, but I did stay off my foot and planted in the recliner for most of it. I got my stitches out but it will be about 3-4 weeks before I can walk on it. Ugh! Your Herons are wonderful. I’m so glad you got close to the Grey Heron. I have never heard of the Lava Heron so thank you for the introduction. Fabulous gallery! 🙂

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thanks so much Lisa and no need to apologise about the delay – I know it’s been a holiday weekend over there and you’ve got hurricanes and foot surgery to contend with too! Glad you got the stitches out – the next few weeks will pass quite quickly and then you can start to build up your walking strength again I guess?

      It was super to see the Lava Heron even if I didn’t get such a great photo. The Galapagos are wonderful of course for seeing endemic species 😀

      • Lisa Coleman

        Thanks Sarah. I know you had better quality photos on your post but I wanted to introduce that bird to the roundup. I’d love to go to the Galapagos someday. 😊

  • starship VT

    Great photos, Sarah! I love the facts that you showcase herons from the places you’ve visited across the globe! We often see herons fishing in the pond near our house, or flying off to other spots nearby.

    • Sarah Wilkie

      Thank you 😊 Yes, I’ve tried (and failed) to get decent heron shots on a phone before. Luckily on this occasion I had my small camera, but he was so close I reckon even a phone would have sufficed!

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