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bird Grey Herons Nesting

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These photos were taken by Bob Ball on the bank of an old mill pond running off Kings Mill reservoir in Nottinghamshire.  The small heronry there has about ten breeding pairs, nesting in trees which are roughly 50 metres across the water from the public footpath.

Heron courtship starts with the birds chasing each other in the air and then diving at each other.  It can start as early as February.  Once the birds have paired up and settled on their nest there's a lot of bill clapping and neck stretching to secure their bond.  The head crests are often raised, and they frequently let out an eerie call.  Mating involves the male climbing onto the females back and grasping the back of her neck in his bill.

The same nest will normally be used each year.  It's a shallow platform made of sticks or reeds, with some fresh twigs added each year.

Herons have just one brood each year.  The eggs take between three and four weeks to hatch, and the chicks remain at the nest for at between eight and ten weeks.

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