Tails from the riverbank


Admittedly, it wouldn’t be my first choice of lunchtime menu, but I came across this Grey Heron trying to ram the biggest Brown Rat this side of Gotham’s darkest sewers down it’s maw on Sands Lake at Ainsdale today.
Don’t know whether the heron had killed Ratty, or was just attempting to snaffle some carrion, either way it proved something of a challenge.



When wild flailing and gagging didn’t work, the heron took to dunking the carcass under the water for up to 35 seconds at a time – it was already dead, so presumably the heron was trying to soften up its meal rather than drown it…


When this failed the heron would dump the rat and wander off to clean its bill on overhanging branches, like a Blackbird wiping its beak on wet grass after snarfing a worm.
Then it would repeat the grisly process.



After 20 minutes or so, the heron gave up and waded off, eyes bigger than its stomach…

3 thoughts on “Tails from the riverbank

  1. Hi John!
    Just to say there was a dead rat found in one of the water tank’s on the farm where I work.
    I’m not saying it was big but I could have ridden it over the race course at Aintree.
    Had a Raven over Allerton crem 2day @ a funeral.
    How spooky is that?


  2. Ringing return from BTO on dead Cormorant found at Formby just before Christmas:

    Number: 5269332 Species of bird: Cormorant (Phalacrocorax carbo)
    This bird was ringed by Scan R.G as age nestling, sex unknown on 28-Jun-2014 time unknown at Puffin Island, Isle of Anglesey, UK
    OS Map reference SH6582 accuracy 0, co-ordinates 53deg 19min N 4deg 2min W accuracy 1.
    It was found on 21-Dec-2014 time unknown at Formby Hills, Formby, Merseyside, UK
    OS Map reference SD2709 accuracy 0, co-ordinates 53deg 34min N 3deg 6min W accuracy 0.
    Finding condition: Dead: Not fresh
    Finding circumstances: Bird Found
    Extra Information: Skeleton only on beach
    It was found 176 days after it was ringed, 68 km from the ringing site, direction ENE.


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