Species Of The Week Number 13: Heron v Trout

Head over to the Meanwood Road Project Instagram page to check out this story in full.

We have both Grey Heron and Brown Trout in the valley. This week they met in battle down near Buslingthorpe Lane. Spoiler alert: The Heron won.

Herons are unmistakeable, either stalking prey in Meanwood Beck or flying overhead with neck retracted and legs extended. If you are in any doubt as to what they look like then check out the fabulous 8m high mural at Meanwood Urban farm by Leeds graffiti artist Ralph Replete.

Mostly we see single Herons but they nest together in colonies in trees. The nearest 'heronry' to us is at Eccup reservoir. Partly because they are big and easy to see, the British Trust for Ornithology has been continually monitoring heronries for over 70 years - making it the longest running single-species survey in the world.

Fun Heron fact #1: 400 roast herons were served at the enthronement of the Archbishop of York in 1465
Fun Heron Fact #2: In the Scottish borders it is customary to raise ones hat to a Heron and wish it good morning.

For obvious reasons Brown Trout are harder to spot - even though they can grow to up to 1 metre long.

Fortunately, the one in the picture which lost the battle has probably already produced or fertilised hundreds of eggs. In November females create nests or 'redds' which are grooves about 10cm deep - at which point the male turns up and the eggs and sperm are extruded at the same time. The females then cover the eggs in the redd by moving gravel from upstream. As the young trout grows it is first called called an alevin and then a parr and after a year becomes an adult trout.

If you feel sorry for the Trout that met its beaky end this week then please don't. Trout are carnivores too, and what the Heron is to the Trout, so the Trout is to the mayfly nymphs, beetles, water shrimps and other smaller fish .

Publicado el 20 de diciembre de 2022 por clunym clunym


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