The heron at Red Cloister

Red Cloister (Rouge Cloitre, Rood-Klooster), an Augustinian Priory founded in the Middle Ages, lies on the edge of the Sonian forest and the south-easterly neighbourhoods of Brussels. Founded in 1367, it was apparently one of the most prestigious in the Spanish Netherlands, and among other notables the Holy Roman Emperor Charles V stayed here. More importantly for my purposes, the lakes all around are full of fish and waterfowl, and today in the sparkling sunshine the Great Blue Heron was out, patiently stalking his prey in the reeds edging one of the lakes.

The combination of sunshine, water and a light breeze made everything feel very alive, in a way you don’t expect of the last week of November. New life is already in the making, as the tree buds reveal, highlighted against the water in the image below.

The sounds of the reeds and grasses rustling in the wind is very soothing, despite the background buzz of the nearby motorway. Is one ever very far from a road these days?

The heron was successful in his fishing expedition, and I watched him gobble up his snack (or did he watch me watching him?). Sadly this gastronomic moment was not caught on camera, as my battery had died by then. There’s always next time though…

10 thoughts on “The heron at Red Cloister

  1. Lovely photos! I enjoy them on the river in the distance, but have never been so close. Funny you say that about the roads. My most vivid memory of the lockdown in France was going out onto the balcony and NOT hearing the very distant hum of the occasional lorry as it rounded the last corners into the village.

    1. Thank you! These herons don’t seem too bothered by people! Our first lockdown was quieter…though we definitely still hear the difference with fewer overhead planes heading in to Brussels airport. A less polluted world, for a little while: one of the upsides for me.

  2. These are such graceful birds, but in the last it gives away a bit of awkwardness. Yes, one thing we can always count on is another chance to catch them gobbling down some goody…I’d rather it be a fish than a frog. πŸ™‚

      1. I’m working on a couple of very old files of a related species which I’ll pose shortly. I do have one with something about to be swallowed but am not sure it’s worthy of a share.

  3. Your photos are gorgeous. Throughout the lockdown folks continue to drive and get lawns cut and blown but there are some peaceful moments when the birdsong is all one hears.

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