Ardea cinerea –
The most common of the large herons is the Grey Heron, a large wading bird. It's mostly grey but with a white head and neck and a black crest and a yellow beak.
Seen standing in the water, with its neck either hunched up or outstretched, the grey heron looks slender. Taking to the air, it seems to double in size. The broad, rounded wings are dark grey going black towards the outer half. In flight, the tail is short and the yellow legs trail well behind, while the neck is held retracted. (Cranes, ibises, storks and spoonbills fly with both neck and legs outstretched.)
Colony nesting in trees (occassionally on cliffs or reed-beds). Our nesting photo (below) was taken in the Camargue in March.
Feeds in shallow fresh or coastal water or in marshes.
It can be easiy seen in the Camargue
(Map ), but we've seen
them near lakes and rivers all over Europe.
In Beyond's locale, a low valley on the outskirts of Grasse , we have a few herons we've seen frequently over the years. In December 2007, one landed for a few minutes on a neighbor's chimney, and we photographed this from our kitchen window (through the glass).