Belfasthillspartnership's picture

Hilarious herons

Observed: 23rd August 2012 By: Belfasthillspar...
Belfast Hills Partnership
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hilarious herons
egret neighbours
Description:

Has anybody ever seen this before? It is not easy to see from the image, but they were sitting in a circle and there were some egrets nearby too (other photo)

Identifications
Species interactions

No interactions present.

Species with which Grey Heron (Ardea cinerea) interacts

Comments

Peadar na Breac's picture

I wonder...

what that was all about!!
Regards Peter

Simon Walker's picture

Most Intriguing!

There has to be something there that's attractive to both species. It's not sex; I can't imagine that it's for mutual safety (otherwise we'd see it more often). So I think it may be to do with food. I wonder if they were catching small frogs? Did you see them take anything from the ground?

Regards

Belfasthillspartnership's picture

Taking food from the ground

No, didn't notice any feeding just a lot of preening and standing around, all very chilled. They have been gathering in this way every year apparently, according to the site warden. There is a heronry nearby. Some little egrets were there too.

Amadan's picture

There are some bird species

That practice co-operative hunting/fishing, but I've never heard of it happening with herons.
Maybe a crop of newly-terrestrial (i.e. leaving the pond) froglets had recently appeared?

Belfasthillspartnership's picture

Feeding co-operatively

According to the lady on the gate of this National Trust site, this is a regular occurrence. She told me to look out for it. They have been gathering in this field every year for several years. There is a heronry in the nearby trees. There was also a small group of little egrets next to them.