Grey heron

Flies with neck retracted

Grey heron, photo Antti Koli.

The grey heron (Ardea cinerea) is a fish eater. It stands motionless in coastal waters, spearing unwary, spawning roaches with lighting speed and precision. They are also partial to frogs.

The grey heron started nesting on a small island in the middle of the Vanhankaupunginlahti conservation area in 2006. In the first year, the breeding population consisted of only two pairs, nesting atop common alders. Since then, the number of nests has increased to approximately 40. Grey herons nest in colonies. They stop feeding their young once they leave the nest, since by that time they can already fend for themselves.

The grey herons of Vanhakaupunginlahti are accompanied every year by a few great white egrets (Ardea alba). They do not nest in Finland, but are in the process of spreading to the north. Estonia already has a great white egret population consisting of several flocks.

Check the latest bird sightings in Viikki-Vanhankaupunginlahti.

Jalohaikara, kuva Eero Haapanen.

Great white egret, photo Eero Haapanen.