Country mouse on the heron’s annual trip

The swallows and house martins have arrived, but our grumpy, lonely heron has left for his annual trip to the heronry. Heronries are like rookeries for giants, with sometimes more than 100 pairs nesting together. They occur all over Britain, including within major cities-there’s one in London’s Regent’s Park.

The grey heron is an enormous bird, almost the size of a golden eagle, and our little valley feels empty without Old Frank, as they call grey herons in Suffolk. I hope he enjoys the company.

The trout in the River Meon won’t miss such an expert fisherman, but they will have to contend with my humble efforts. Having watched Old Frank stalk his quarry over the winter, I’ve promised to try and emulate his stealth.

At this time of year, I hope for a hatch of the hawthorn fly, a black insect with long, conspicuously jointed limbs. It’s a bit of an oddity, as it lives on the land and only falls into the water by chance, but the trout absolutely love them. The same is true of daddy-long-legs later in the year. It’s a case of Carpe Diem for the trout and, hopefully, me.