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By Mark Davey
Herons seem endlessly patient, standing motionless as they stalk their fishy prey, but a rescued Carradale bird has found a simpler solution.
When heron Hector feels the munchies coming on he heads to 91-year-old pensioner, Crystal Paterson’s house, stands on a gas cylinder and pecks the window to gain attention.
The five-year-old coastal bird, from the family Ardeidae, who could equally well be a Henrietta, as his gender has not been established, would have faced certain death before being rescued by the late Gordon Robertson.
It had been a very wet autumn and Hector had fledged the nest in a large rhodendron bush but was struggling to feed himself.
Mrs Paterson’s son-in-law, field ecologist and photographer, Ged Paterson said: ‘Gordon knew that Crystal looked after all sorts of wildlife and told her son Alasdair.
‘With their sharp long beak herons can be quite dangerous but Crystal just got hold of Hector in a no nonsense way and put him in her shed.
‘People rallied round and shortly Hector put on weight and was well enough to return to a life in the wild.
‘Hector was away for about three to four days before making his first reappearance and asking for a feed.’
The wily bird knocked on the window and attracted former fisherman, Archie Paterson, 93, Crystal’s husband.
Before long, as Hector’s appetite grew, the Paterson’s had a regular order at Tesco, in Campbeltown, for five bags a week of the store’s cheapest fish filets.
Mr Connelly added: ‘Archie and Crystal were devastated earlier this year when Tesco said it would be discontinuing the filets. Luckily, the store’s Lorna Anderson stepped in and managed to guarantee Hector’s supply.’
Mr Connelly is renowned in the village as a photographer. He is a keen member of Carradale Camera Club and regularly wins competitions with his wildlife images.
Since his most recent ecology contract ended last October he has been able to concentrate on capturing Hector’s every move.
‘Crystal and Archie do not see so much of Hector at the moment as the herons are nesting, but he is sure to be back,’ said Mr Connelly.
Photographer Ged Connelly. 25_c12GedConnelly01_photographer
Hector the heron. Heron pictures by Ged Connelly. NO_c12heron02_close_up_hector_the_heron_Ged_Connelly
Crystal Paterson feeding Hector. NO_c12heron01_crystal_paterson_feeding