Egret 1: Heron 0

We often see bird fights here, sparrowhawks going after buzzards, crows going after buzzards, thrushes going after buzzards, kestrels seeing off sparrowhawks. But I’ve just been watching a fight between a grey heron and a great egret.
Photo ©Christian Mehlführer


The egret was on the pond and was just swallowing a very large frog when there was a squawk and a heron dive-bombed it. The flurry of huge wings, white and grey as they had a go at one another was tremendous.

For the next fifteen minutes or so they stalked around the pond eyeing one another up. The heron rushed the egret a couple of times, but the egret, slightly bigger, stood its ground. It’s the heron’s pond and I don’t expect it had ever seen a bird bigger than itself before. I went indoors for my phone, but the pictures are blurry. Had to magnify by ten to get anything as the pond is about 100 metres from the house.

egret and heron

And, guess what? It was pouring with rain…

Published by

Jane Dougherty

I used to do lots of things I didn't much enjoy. Now I am officially a writer. It's what I always wanted to be.

36 thoughts on “Egret 1: Heron 0”

    1. Made me wish I had a proper camera! The great egret isn’t supposed to be here at all. They’re supposed to be summer visitors and only a very few have started to nest in France. I hope it means this is one of a breeding pair. The heron was seriously put out. It and its mate are often around but I’ve never seen them catch anything. I’m sure they do, that pond is full of frogs. The egret just waded in and grabbed a frog. Hurt pride as you say.

    1. Apart from the big raptors, the heron is the biggest bird I’ve seen here, but the egret was even bigger. The heron obviously disliked the intruder but wasn’t sure how to get rid of him/her!

      1. Everything attacks the buzzards! I’ve even seen swallows going for them! It’s made me develop quite a sympathy for the great creatures. Don’t know why they’re such hate figures as although they’re big, they’re not particularly powerful. Sparrowhawks are scrappers though. Always seem to be fighting.

  1. I keep coming back to this and laughing. I know egrets. I know herons. Egrets and herons are socially-distanced friends of mine. But I’ve never seen them battle like this.

    1. I just wish I’d had a proper camera to capture that first angry plummetting and the stalking about, the heron rushing the egret which seemed completely unperturbed. Birds are fascinating. They’re so human sometimes!

  2. Like boxers, with the pond as a ring. I don’t wonder the heron got defensive. It sounds like there’s plenty if water around, enough for all….(k)

    1. There are lots of ponds. All the farmers dam up the springs on their land to have at least one source of water for irrigation. They don’t care if downstream shrivels and dies of drought…

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