Herons fly back to breed in St Albans’ Verulamium park

Grey heron

Grey heron - Credit: Archant

Winter’s heavy rainfalll has not deterred grey herons from breeding in Verulamium Park, St Albans, and the RSPB has returned to film their nests.

Funding from St Albans district and Herts county councils has enabled the bird protection charity to install a nest camera on the island in Verulamium lake that will transmit live images to a television screen at its Date with Nature exhibition trailer which will be on the edge of the lake until April 28.

Grey herons lay eggs and raise young earlier than many other birds and can have a difficult job incubating the eggs and keeping their chicks warm, sometimes in sub-zero temperatures.

Last year there were seven occupied nests in Verulamium Park and the RSPB will soon be able to ascertain how many herons have returned this year and whether the floods and high water levels have had an impact on them.

Debs Allbrook, RSPB’s Date with Nature project officer, said: “Although we have had issues with the recent flooding and bad weather, we hope this year that our camera will be able to show visitors close up action of the herons as they raise their young throughout their stay in the park.

“If all goes to plan and the herons do as we expect them to, visitors should get amazing live, close-up views of the activity and antics of the herons and their offspring.”

She added: “The herons returning each year to breed at Verulamium Park shows that a well cared for inner city green space can provide fantastic homes for wildlife.”

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Plenty of other wildlife can also be seen in the park at this time of year. Volunteers at the heron viewpoint often see more than 60 different species throughout the project starting with winter birds such as redwing and fieldfare and ending with summer visitors such as warblers, swallows and swifts as the temperature rises.

Red kites are also regularly seen soaring over the park and a pair of kingfishers have recently been seen catching fish along the nearby stream.

The twosome have been captured by numerous local photographers after alighting on tree branches along the stream.