The Season For Purple Herons
The arrival of the purple heron (Ardea purpurea) at Sebes Nature Reserve (Reserva Natural de Sebes) marks the beginning of spring, as year after year it returns to breed in the reed beds here. From mid April to the end of July, looking out from the lake observatory you can enjoy a privileged view of a small breeding colony no more than 25 metres away.
The arrival of the adults with their spectacular plumage is the beginning of some elegant preparatory displays, and the building of nests with branches from nearby willow trees or bulrush and reed stems. Watching the comings and goings of this elegant bird is sheer pleasure.
After some weeks of lesser activity which coincides with the incubation period, the chicks start to hatch and frenetic activity returns to the breeding colony. The chicks cause a real uproar with their calls for food, and this sound fills every morning during May and June. Meanwhile, the adults can’t rest as they are constantly on the move finding food to satisfy the hunger of their little ones who are growing bigger from day to day.
From mid June to the end of July you can see how the chicks start progressing with their first flights, fishing near to the breeding area and how they boldly come close to the observation points on the reserve.
You cannot miss this spectacle, nor stop taking magnificent photos. Furthermore, you are sure to see a kingfisher or marsh harrier, since they are also in the middle of the breeding season in the same area.