Sunday 11 April 2021

Night Heron

Not easy to see! I've got a bit of a soft spot for Night Herons, so decided on a quick trip down to Slapton before Joel's afternoon football match. Once I got my eye in I found it fairly easy to pick out, but directing others onto it, not so easy...

Six Willow Warblers and 2 Meadow Pipits was all I could find on Orcombe this morning, so I decided to nip down to Slapton for the first-summer Night Heron, discovered there a couple days ago. Good scope views of various parts of the bird, at different times - most visible when preening and stretching. Also down there - good views of a Cetti's Warbler, the long-staying Red-necked Grebe, c30+ Tufted Duck, 1 Gadwall and a singing Reed Warbler.
This was only my fourth Devon Night Heron, with previous birds at West Charleton Marsh on 28/3/93, a self-found first-summer bird at Countess Wear on 12/4/99 and an adult at Bowling Green Marsh on 4/4/06. About time I saw another!

Plumage-wise - like a subdued, dull adult with grey-black crown, bluish-grey bill and amber eye. You could sometimes see its yellowish legs and feet. Otherwise the upperparts, or what was visible of them, looked plain grey, and it appeared yellowish-buff around the lores and neck sides. I didn't get a good look at the wing coverts, but the Countess Wear first-summer had buff spots in this area.


  1. looks like it was in the same place in the afternoon during my visit - lovely to bump into Perry Sanders and Dave Land there too. I suspect Dave won't have got one his normally superb photos of this bird!

  2. Ha! Hard enough to see, never mind photograph. Sorry I missed you and Perry but had to shoot back to take Joel to football. All the best. Matt