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Heron in the Dark

With the shorter hours of daylight at this time of year, I don't get to see that many birds on my way to and from work.  However, on Monday morning at 6am, as I was walking walking through central Reading on my way to the railway station, there was a grey heron (Ardea cinerea) standing in the river Kennet, just opposite the abbey ruins.  It was perfectly still in the darkness, with its neck extended as if it was watching.  Maybe the light from the street lights is bright enough for it to actually catch fish there at night, I don't know. 

Herons are usually fairly wary of people and I half expected it to fly off as I walked by along the tow path, but it didn't, maybe because I was I was over on the opposite bank.  It also ignored a car moving along the bank near to it, but when the driver got out of the car the heron rose up and flew off slowly upstream.

That part of the river, the shallows on the inside of a bend, must be a fairly popular place for water birds to spend the night: I often see swans, Canada geese, coots, mallard ducks, and occasionally the heron there in the early morning, waiting for daylight to come. 

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