Thursday, October 23, 2008
If you or I were to flout an angling ban in a royal park, we might not expect to get off the hook so easily.
But this bold heron clearly isn’t worried by rules as he brazenly holds his catch in his beak while perched on a ‘No Fishing’ sign.
The elegant long-legged bird was spotted in Bushy Park, near Hampton Court Palace, Surrey.
An onlooker said: ‘It was the oddest sight. The heron almost looked as though he was mocking the law by standing on the sign.
‘He stayed there and held the fish a while before gulping it down. It was quite a sight.’
Herons natural habitat is in marshland and estuaries, but over the last few years an increasing number have settled in urban areas.
And despite the threat to fish in gardens and parks, legal protection, mild winters and improvements in water quality have all helped to encourage more of the birds than ever.
There are at least 13,000 pairs across Britain, according to recent research.
And they can live for up to 25 years
The birds are opportunists, readily eating anything that comes near the water's edge.
Among their prey are frogs, toads, rats, water voles and even ducklings.