Grey herons are excellent fishers. Until now, I only knew this from the many photos I had seen of these birds holding large fishes in their long grey-orange bill. Today, I finally got to see a heron fish with my own eyes. One of them welcomed me on a captivating 2-hour fishing lesson: by the end of it, I had managed to approach it 5 meters away, an unexpected proximity given these birds quite distrust humans in my area.
The heron caught no less than 5 carps in 45 minutes from the stone edge of a small canal. The bird would crouch on the edge and remain in this position with his long neck curled up until a fish appears. He would then briskly stretch his neck down to the water to capture his meal (see below images). Seeing the bird keeping balance throughout the action despite the flat and smooth edge of the canal, one can imagine how incredibly strong and flexible its slender legs are. Alternatively, he would dive in the water head first―with less success.
These birds are amazing at remaining still for extended periods of time, deeply concentrated on the water and alert to the slightest sounds made by the carps―a patience eventually rewarded for both the bird and the photographer.
Location: Parc de Sceaux, France