Record number of herons in Verulamium Park

PUBLISHED: 12:42 19 February 2009 | UPDATED: 13:57 06 May 2010

RECORD numbers of herons have nested in a local park – a clear indication of the improving local environment, according to bird charity the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB). There have been 46 grey heron chicks successfully raised in Verul

RECORD numbers of herons have nested in a local park - a clear indication of the improving local environment, according to bird charity the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB).

There have been 46 grey heron chicks successfully raised in Verulamium Park, St Albans, over the past year with 23 nests compared to just three in 1992.

The RSPB said that the heron population had gone from strength to strength since the district council completed works to improve the water quality in the lake during 1991.

And people can now view up close the thriving heron population in their treetop nests through a special RSPB viewpoint in the park.

Angi Davies, of the RSPB, said: "The park is one of only a few places to see such close-up views of nesting grey herons in the eastern region. Following the environmental improvements in the park, the nesting sites have now spread from the lower hawthorn and willow trees to higher birch trees giving us a great view and a wonderful insight into the chicks' development."

Cllr Sheila Burton, the district council's portfolio holder for sport and healthy living, said: "It's great to have an opportunity like this right on our doorstep, being able to get out and see such birds as the herons in Verulamium Park first hand certainly beats watching a wildlife documentary."

RSPB staff and volunteers will be on hand to tell people about the nesting grey herons every Friday, Saturday and Sunday between February 20 and April 26 at the viewpoint located opposite the lake and just past the entrance to Ye Old Fighting Cocks pub.

The viewpoint, which forms part of the RSPB Date with Nature programme, will be open from 10am until 4pm on each of the days with telescopes and binoculars available to enable people to see right inside the one metre-wide nests.

For more information visit www.rspb.org.uk/datewithnature or call 01603 697581.

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