So what's happened in the nest so far?

Since our heron-cam went live, it has been fascinating to watch the different food items being brought in by the parents: mainly various kinds of fish, both large and small, a few frogs and even at one point a large rat!  Herons actually have quite wide diets, and with ravenous mouths to feed in the nest they tend not to be too choosy when it comes to the menu.  The chicks wolf down whatever their parents give them: birds have no teeth, of course, so they generally swallow their food whole.

If you watch carefully, you might occasionally see one of the chicks leaning over the edge of the nest and coughing up something.  This is a pellet, which is made of the indigestible parts of the different animals they have been eating.  The pellets mainly consist of fish scales and bones, with some rodent and frog bones and perhaps also some fur mixed in.  Many different kinds of bird regurgitate pellets like this, though the group most famous for doing it are the birds of prey.

You will also notice that, from time to time, the heron chicks – how to put this delicately? - stick the opposite end of their bodies over the side of the nest and expel another form of dietary waste.  Their instinct is to squirt this as far away from the nest as possible, both to keep the inside of the nest clean and hygienic and also so that the conspicuous "whitewash" won’t give away the precise nest location to a hungry predator.

Mooney Goes Wild launched Nestwatch 2018 at a heronry in Dublin’s St. Anne’s Park – part of the Dublin Bay Biosphere.

Cameras are trained on the nests to capture the nest building, incubation, hatching and fledging of these beautiful birds.

Currently, the adult herons are rearing two nestlings which we estimate to be about two weeks old.

These pictures will feature in RTÉ television’s Nature Live presented by Derek Mooney at 6pm on Sunday 6th May and the live stream can be viewed here 24/7.

Please email your questions, comments and observations to mooney@rte.ie

Tune into Mooney Goes Wild at 10pm every Monday to find out more about NestWatch.

In partnership with:

Netwatch