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

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Written by Redgannet
Redgannet has been working for over 33 years as a crew member/flight attendant and enjoys the well-ventilated air of the outdoors. The nom de blog, Redgannet, was adopted to add an air of mystery and to make himself more attractive to women. His father first whetted Redguga's appetite for all things natural by buying him his first pair of 7x35s and a copy of Thorburn's Birds. Having no mentor beyond an indulgent parent, he spent the first season hoping for an Egyptian Vulture at the bird table in his English garden. His most memorable birding moment is seeing an Egyptian Vulture with those same binoculars 26 years later. Redgannet is married to Canon, but his heart and half of his house belongs to Helen and their son Joseph. He is looking forward to communicating with people who don't ask if he is searching for the "feathered variety" of bird.