I often see these birds on the university campus where I work and around the Sedgemoor waterways when I’m staying in Somerset. They’re surprisingly large and very good hunters, feeding on fish, frogs, ducklings and even small mammals like voles and mice. They’ll also take fish from garden ponds, often completely emptying the stock if there’s no netting to prevent their feasting antics.
Although herons can be a nuisance around garden ponds their colonies (known as heronries) are a good indicator of the health of the freshwater ecosystem. Where herons are plentiful the waterways support a wide variety of aquatic life.
This is a pencil and watercolour sketch of a grey heron with an unlucky fish… The one that didn’t get away!