Young country diary: Grandma’s favourite walk was to see the herons | Joseph

Fife, Scotland: She’s not here any more, but she would have loved to see so many herons sitting in their usual tree

Today I felt ready to go on Grandma’s walk. Mum thought it would help me. Grandma died suddenly last month. Her favourite walk was Berry’s Den, which is a beautiful, wooded area on an estate. We would walk through together at least once a week. There are two ponds inhabited by ducks, herons and swans along with other wildlife which is ever-changing.

Grandma’s favourite part of the walk was counting the herons. It was a few years ago when we saw several herons (a siege) sitting together in a very majestic Scots pine. Counting the herons became a game for us, and the numbers there changed on every walk. We saw more later in the day resting or roosting, but always in the same tree. We wondered if it was a heronry and suspect it was a small one, as we have glimpsed nests in the treetops nearby.

Herons in the trees of Berry’s Den, Fife, Scotland.
Herons in the trees of Berry’s Den. Photograph: Family handout

In the spring we would count the ducklings and see the Battle of Nature, with the herons trying to pick off the ducklings. One year the ducklings seemed to win the battle because there were two angry swans there with their cygnets, and they seemed to act as protection against a heron attack. Grandma and I delighted in seeing all these little ones survive. Today on my walk I counted seven herons, the most so far. Grandma would have been absolutely delighted, but worried for the ducklings next spring! I’ll be back to watch over them for her.
Joseph, 11

• Read today’s other YCD, by John, 10: “1,032 conkers from my uncle’s garden

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