As an exercise in futility, few chores can rival deleting photographs to gain a bit of space on your hard drive. With memory so cheap these days it is a pursuit that will never repay you the time that might otherwise have been spent outdoors. However, the nights are closing in. My family have already grown bored of my presence this week and are asking when I will be going back to work. I have had my dinner and the TV is rubbish. So let’s call it reviewing some old trips, shall we? And we’ll delete the bad shots as we go.

YYZ 22Jun15 Great Gray Heron 01

Here’s a trip I had forgotten about; Toronto during June. A Great Blue Heron flushed from the near bank as I approached the lake in Angrignon Park. It crossed to a small island with some rough grass and bushes on it. A few reeds skirted the edge. The heron had barely folded in its wings when a black fury fell upon it.

YYZ 22Jun15 Great Gray Heron 02

An angry Red-winged Blackbird attacked again and again, flashing its bright epaulettes and hitting the heron hard in the middle of its back. The blackbird appeared to be purposefully targeting the heron’s back. It did not try to strike the head or neck. Possibly it preferred to stay well clear of that tremendous beak.

YYZ 22Jun15 Great Gray Heron 03

Despite taking thumps that could be heard across the water, the heron seemed almost oblivious to its attacker. It continued to fish, working its way slowly along the bank while the blackbird continued its assault. The only acknowledgement that the heron even noticed its attacker was a slightly raise crest.

YYZ 22Jun15 Great Gray Heron 06

I imagine that if you hunt close to nesting birds and you have a reputation for snaffling a few chicks if parents are not vigilant, you have to expect this sort of reaction.

YYZ 22Jun15 Great Gray Heron 07

Written by Redgannet
Redgannet worked for more than 35 years as a flight attendant for an international airline. He came to birding late in his career but, considering the distractions, doesn't regret the missed opportunities. He was paid to visit six continents and took full advantage of the chance to bird the world. He adopted the nom de blog, Redgannet, to avoid remonstrations from his overbearing employer, but secretly hoped that the air of mystery would make him more attractive to women. Now grounded, he is looking forward to seeing the seasons turn from a fixed point.