31 MAY 1957, Page 35


Herons, I have heard it said, walk around a lake or pond keeping their feet in the water, leaving no tracks. This may or may not be true. They are more likely to be in the water than out of it, for the simple reason that the fry and small fish they are stalking are to be found in the shallows. If they leave no tracks this is because the nature of the sand or mud allows the prints to dissolve with the movement of the water. The other day, however, when 1 was fish- ing, I noticed outsize prints on the peat and beneath the water. A moment's thought made me conclude that the lake had risen within a short time of the heron walking on the soft peat, but I had a delightful preture of a giant heron, at least twice as tall as the normal sort. I was still thinking about it, and wading beside a large rock, when I saw a shadow and then the 'outsize' bird as it planed in to alight and shot up again on seeing me. It was just a standard-sized heron come to take a trout, and he had as much right to do so as I had, I suppose.