Encounter at Devils Kitchen, Snowdonia.

Jason // December 2 // 0 Comments

This was a most unexpected moment. I've been close to herons and ravens before but not in such unusual circumstances. I'd invited 3 members of my Creativity Beyond the Camera Club to join me for a wander around one of my favourite wild places, Cwm Idwal in Snowdonia, North Wales.

Cwm Idwal is a small lake of crystal clear water that hunkers in a mountainous amphitheatre beneath the infamous Devil's Kitchen. The tortuous chasm so named due to the wild goats who meet their fate here, corpses broken on the sharp boulders that break their fall.

On this particular cloud striven day we had already caught many images of drama as the clouds twined between the peaks, highlighting the layers of precipice and ravine (I'll share those photos soon). However we were unprepared for this particular show.

The four of us stood at the point where a small beck tumbled into the lake and watched as the heron slowly flapped across the lake towards us, wing tips almost brushing the water.

It circled and landed some twenty metres away and, after regarding us quizzically, settled into fishing. Mindfully, we swapped out our lenses and aimed our cameras onto the statue-still bird.

Deciding to stay with the moment we grabbed many shots and were pleased to witness the flash of a fish catch. A brown trout fit for my own dinner plate was held firmly in the javelin beak, watery scales glinting, fresh blood running.

The heron brought the catch onto the grassy bank and laid it down, waiting for it to stop wriggling. At that point a shadow of raven cast down from the rocky landscape, the owner landing just a metre or so from the heron, intent on lunch! Within seconds its mate tumbled down.

The pair harangued the heron, grappling with its wings, holding its pinions and snapping for the trout but the fearsome beak of the heron held them at bay.

This skirmish lasted a good few minutes as the night black pair coordinated their plan of attack, but to no avail. Heron stayed one step ahead. Eventually it picked up the fish, spread its wings and marched back to the stream with the two ravens snapping at its tail feathers.

It seemed quite obvious that the heron had met these two before. Stepping into the stream it turned to face the marauders and dangled the fish at them.

The ravens stretched and grabbed towards the bounty but the heron was just out of reach and seemed to be taking delight in teasing them. Slowly it turned its catch so that it could swallow it head first, much to the dismay of the crow couple who flapped away with much cronking.

No fish dinner for them today!

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About the Author Jason

Jason follows his lifelong vocation as a countryside photographer who tries to catch the spirit of the places he visits. After decades working as a professional editorial photographer he now focuses much of his time on conceptual fine art photography, visual storytelling and in aiding others to follow their creative calling.

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