3 DECEMBER 1937, Page 16

London Herons A large and gorgeous bird that seems to

be joining the very large company whom London attracts is the heron. I hear of great numbers—six or eight at a time—being seen on some of the waters along the western edge of London. The reservoirs and ornamental waters near London are full of fish, and the intelligence service of the heron is peculiarly good. For example, a pool that is almost a lake within the purlieus of Epping Forest was filled with goldfish, which began to disappear almost from the moment when the pool was stocked. It was not till the waters were empty that an early riser saw a heron sail sadly away from the exhausted fishing ground. Some few people fear, as my post-bag wit- nesses, that the increasing number of gulls may contaminate the reservoirs ; but the bird which is most thoroughly disliked by those who are concerned with the reservoirs (at Staines, for example) is the coot. I have seen so many crowd into a favourite bay of a reservoir, that the water itself was scarcely visible. They were packed like starlings on a favourite roost. The species has increased amazingly in Eastern England.

It was always multitudinous on parts of the West Coast, where it is disliked by spcirtsmen on the ground that it keeps the

duck away. It certainly does not exert this influence on the London reservoirs where duck, especially widgeon, are in flocks.