Heron on the Tiber

I’ve been confused about place names for a long time. The idea that the French didn’t pronounce their country ‘France’ was introduced to me quite early. The idea that Paris wasn’t pronounced by the French as the English pronounce Paris was also fascinating to me as a child.

Standing on the banks of the River Tiber in Rome I’m also struck that it’s not called the Tiber at all, but called the Tevere by Italians. I’m also in Roma rather than Rome.

River Tiber - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

We’re walking along the river on the waterfront boulevard called the lungotevere when we see a Grey Heron. It’s as still as an ancient Roman statue in the reeds. It flies off and lands on one of the many bridges which span the river.

Heron on lungotevere - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Herons have also colonised central London and I spent some time taking portraits of them in The Regent’s Park in the autumn:

Autumn Heron Portraits

That’s London, or, as the Italians call it, Londra.

As we watch, our Italian Heron is overcome by the urge to have a good scratch:

Heron on lungotevere - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

Those yellow eyes are so extreme.

We’ve been spotted:

Heron on lungotevere - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

It soon relaxes when it judges we aren’t a threat:

Heron on lungotevere - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

And then stays there all day:

Heron on lungotevere - The Hall of Einar - photograph (c) David Bailey (not the)

The Grey Heron isn’t called the Grey Heron in Italian either, it’s called the airone cenerino. The translation of airone cenerino? Heron Grey.

Here’s the Grey Heron from my series looking through the pages of a 1950s Ladybird book:

The Second Ladybird Book of British Birds #18 – The Heron

What a magnificent bird.

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