Heron keeps beady eye on Islington from Tufnell Park perch

A SURPRISED bird watcher captured this water-loving heron surveying the scene in Tufnell Park.

Lesley Harvey, of Huddleston Road, took this picture of the grey heron perched on a rooftop by her home last Thursday.

Herons – the largest species of bird in the United Kingdom – are traditionally found near lakes and reservoirs where they prey on fish, small mammals and insects.

This particular heron spent three hours in the Tufnell Park area – and even returned for a brief period the following day.

Mrs Harvey, 68, said: “This was a day when the sun shone and the skies were blue. I found this strange because you would normally see a heron at Hampstead Heath.


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“It was distressed because it was being dive bombed by crows and by magpies. But it ducked its head to avoid the magpies and the crows and it stayed in the same position.”

Mrs Harvey, who lives with her husband Peter and her son Alan, 30, is a keen bird watcher. She said: “The heron came back the next day but it has not returned since then. You certainly don’t expect to see a heron in Tufnell Park.”

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Wildlife expert Tim Webb, of the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds in London (RSPB), said herons could be found in Regent’s Park, Battersea and Lee Valley, as well as in Gillespie Park in Highbury.

They also gather in large numbers during their mating season in February and March.

He said: “There are canals running through Tufnell Park which may be why the heron was in this area. But it is possible the heron may have been forced down by crows or was travelling from A to B and paused momentarily to catch its breath.

“The heron could have been heading to Regent’s Park for the mating season. There are dozens of herons on the island in the main lake. They are such a dinosaur of a bird – like modern day pterodactyls. It is wonderful to see such animals in London.”

The RSPB is staging a national bird watching event this weekend and is inviting people to send in pictures of different birds visiting their garden.

For more information on the event visit www.rspb.org.uk.

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