Brindley PlaceWalking along the towpath (shown left) opposite the National Indoor Arena (NIA) yesterday, I spotted a large bird in the near distance perched on the edge – a heron.

I approached slowly but, of course, as I got nearer it walked away.

Luckily, I happened to have my SLR camera with me but the light was very poor, and there was little time to prepare; so I knew I couldn’t get very good photos.

It started to peer intently down into the water just by the towpath edge.

I wanted to get nearer, so decided to try to creep up on it by walking up the ramp up to Sheepcote Street unseen by the bird. I was then closer to it and higher up and also disguised as I peered through some greenery. The stretch of towpath and my view point ramp are shown in the bottom right corner of the photo shown left.

Suddenly, the heron dived into the canal. Seconds later it took off with much thrashing and noise carrying a fish in its mouth. It then flew back to the towpath and raised its beak vertically – the fish was swallowed whole in a couple of seconds. The bird then composed itself as though nothing had happened and effectively posed for me! Below are some photos of the happenings. (Click on image for larger view.)

I have since discovered that the heron has been hanging around the area for a few days, so you might see it if you visit. (Click on image for larger view.)