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!
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:
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.
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