There were so many herons at the heronry today that it was impossible to count them; there were seven in one part of a tree alone. I stopped counting at 18 because I could hear herons squawking from parts of the heronry that I couldn’t see. They were in the trees, on nests, on the ground and in the air. I heard beak clacking, which heron chicks use to beg food from their parents. It might have been a female on eggs begging for her dinner.
My binoculars were trained on the heronry when something obscured my view. I lowered the binns and there in front of me were two men with rifles – air rifles I hope: one around 35 years of age and the other in his late twenties I reckon. I could hardly believe my eyes” This is private property and hunting is not allowed!” I shouted. “The stock fencing should have been a clue!” “The guns are for target practice!” the older man shouted back. “And the herons are probably your targets,” I muttered under my breath. The older man had his rifle in its case, but the younger one had his telescoped rifle in his hands ready to shoot.
The whole island has recently been stock fenced, which seems to be an invitation for people to trespass and do as they please; the fence must make them feel safe.
I watched the men leave the island and walk along the canal toe path towards Kidderminster.