Being us, we had to get our priorities straight, and started off with a suitably civilised coffee sitting out in the garden at the Ship, at Winchelsea Beach.
|Looking across the level towards the heronry|
|Garden at the Ship|
|Winchelsea from the canal|
|Beautiful and peaceful|
The heronry is on the far side of the canal, in high trees in the wooded escarpment below Winchelsea. It is suitably inaccessible for the protection of the birds, but easily visible from the towpath. There have been previous internet posts about it, so clearly it is no secret. Neither Philosopher or myself have ever seen such a thing before. Herons return to the same place year after year to breed - I have no idea how long the Winchelsea heronry has been established, but from the large size of the sprawling nest areas, made from dead branches, I'd guess a long time.
Here they are - the tall grey adults are easily distinguishable from the smaller chicks. We only saw two or three chicks, but more were probably hiding in the foliage. Some of the photos are a bit blurred because of the distance. Who else has seen a heronry?
|Heronry actual size|
|First sight of the herons|
|Two parents, one baby|
|Two families visible here|
At home, our garden birds have also been busy. Followers on Facebook will have seen the somewhat fuzzy picture of the wood pecker on our bird-feeder. Here he is again. This morning we arrived home from shopping to find the garden literally crowded with baby starlings and their parents. You could have heard the squawking racket down in the Old Town. We always see a few, and have several nests nearby, but this looked like a mass fledging - the beginnings of our own murmuration? Anyone else seen this?
|Great spotted woodpecker|