Ellesmere Heronwatch


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All photographs are copyright Edward Bevan unless otherwise stated and may not be reproduced without permission.

Ellesmere Heronwatch Heron egg turning heron fact Ellesmere heronwatch mere Ellesmere heronwatch moscow island 200 years water birds chick volunteer lake

Heron Facts

What do they eat?

Adult herons need 3.50 – 5.00 kg each day. They eat fish, eels (favourite grub), reptiles (frogs, newts etc), mammals (voles, mice etc) and small birds (ducklings etc) they also require some roughage like grain to complete their digestion process. Herons produce pellets which they regurgitate. These contain the remains of the undigested materials such as fur and bones.


How big are the nests?

Approximately 1-2 metres across (bigger than an arm-chair! ), and weigh as much as 25 kg. They are made of twigs and sticks, and are lined with animal hair and feathers. They are used year after year. There is currently no evidence that the same pair use the same nest in successive year. It’s usually based on first come first served (or some kind of dominance)


How many eggs do they lay?

1-5 eggs, laid 2 days apart. Incubation takes 21 – 25 days. The eggs are a bright blue colour (come and visit us to see for yourself!)


How do they catch their prey?

By stealth. Usually by standing in shallow water or the water’s edge, they wait patiently for their prey to come into view before grabbing at it with their well adapted bill. There are also records of herons diving and plunging for fish.


Ellesmere heronwatch eggs Ellesmere heronwatch moscow island 200 years water birds chick volunteer lake

Click on this image to start the video of heron chicks being fed

When heron chicks hatch, they are nearly 10cm tall.  When they leave the nest about 8 weeks later, they are about 100cm tall.

This means they have grown to 10 times their height in only 8 weeks!