Mr Burns gets his (Tesco) sprats

The entire Love Wapping management and editorial team wish to apologise for this week’s excess of heavy duty electoral corruption stories and make amends by bringing you some photographs of one of our Wapping Wildlife favourites – Mr Burns!


Mr Burns is one, possibly all, of our local Wapping grey herons who can usually be seen fishing in the canal at all hours of day and night.


His (or her) catch varies from tiny little fish to huge eels which he (or she) has great difficulty in swallowing down. One night our Wildlife Rangers (Western Division) spent an enjoyable ten minutes watch him (or her) struggling to gulp down such an eel much to the annoyance of Mr Crow who hopped around a few feet away, anxious to get in on the kill.


At other time Mr Burns can be seen at Hermitage Basin fishing from the side as we showed you some time ago.  Just does not care about that ‘No Fishing’ sign does he?


These photos were taken one day in the winter after our Wildlife Rangers had noticed that Mr Burns was getting so peckish that he was often gobbling up the duck’s bread.

This was very odd as he prefers his food to be alive and wriggly.

Off our Wildlife Rangers went to Tesco at Surrey Quays looking for a nice treat for him just to make sure he got through the winter months.

The lady at the Tesco fish counter was very helpful as quite a few people buy grey heron food there and suggested sprats.


So our Rangers returned with a couple of kilos of sprats (above) which were bundled up into lunch size portions (about 10 is good) and put in the office freezer.

The Rangers then threw them to Mr Burns on the canal every three days or so – and did he like them! (Defrosted – of course.)

The only problem was this. After a week or two of sprat satisfaction Mr Burns thought it might be worth following our Rangers to see where all these sprats came from.

And so he started to walk along behind our Ranger patrol as they headed back towards Wapping Lane.

This was not good for all sorts of reasons although our Rangers appreciated the compliment. Mr Burns was encouraged to go back into the canal and everything was as it should be.

Note: Wild birds normally do not need feeding, but when pickings are slim they occasionally need a little help.