Ardea cinerea – Heron

Grey herons are large, striking birds often spotted standing motionless at the water’s edge. Having found a suitable location, herons stand and wait patiently for the right moment to stab passing prey with their dagger-like beaks.  Herons are very elegant and move gracefully as they wade through shallow water searching for small fish and amphibians.  Even their name seems to be related to the lofty heights they reach with their long, slim neck.   The word heron appears to be very old and of uncertain origin. It may derive from the Latin aerius meaning aerial.   There is another less palatable name which I’ll leave you to discover yourself!

I am very lucky to live near a number of nature reserves and last July (2013) we visited Swell Wood and were lucky to see the Herons nesting in the trees.  Until then I had no idea that this is where they nested so not only was it good to learn a bit more about this bird, but also to see them in the trees.  I’ve had a number of rough sketches drawn for quite some time and the plan was to produce a linocut in April of a Heron.  This was supposed to be the next print after Woodpecker.  Unfortunately, we had some very sad bereavements at that time and everything ground to a halt.  Slowly over this summer sketchbooks have come out and thoughts are now turning to the colour print I had planned back in April.  I’ve dusted off the drawings and made small changes to the composition which will be made when I transfer to the lino block.

JeanStevensHeron2

JeanStevensHeron

Heron at RSPB Swell Wood

JeanStevensEgret1

Egret at RSPB Grey Lake

I’m probably not going to get around to this until after Somerset Art Weeks end, but I’ll be able to do all the planning and prep whilst I wait for visitors to come.  It’ll be good to produce a challenging piece again.

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