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The Grey Herons of Gili Lankanfushi


I knew from our trip preparations that there are grey herons in the Maldives. But little did I know how much effort it would take to find and photograph them…

In getting ready for our voyage to Gili Lankanfushi in the Maldives, I learned from one of our fellow bloggers, that in fact grey herons live there. They had managed to catch a mature specimen in one of their snapshots. It was on the beach somewhere and apparently quite far from the water villas, but not bad!

Then, on our first day there, I also caught sight of a grey heron on the beach across from our water bungalow’s sun terrace. Gone were all thoughts of leisure: as fast as I could, I took off with camera and telephoto lens to capture my own specimen of the fowl. Photographically speaking, that is.

Wading slowly and ever so carefully through the shallow water, I got as close as I could and actually did manage to get the odd snapshot!

Grey heron in front of the Robinson Crusoe water villas

Grey heron in front of the Robinson Crusoe water villas

That was that, I thought. The little fellow is in the bag. Satisfied with self and world, I stomped through water and sand back onto our sundeck, to savor the day after my successful large animal hunt.

A bit later, I was somewhat surprised when we spied yet another grey heron on the ride back from a dive. This time it was a stately specimen that greeted us by the entrance to the lagoon. Right up front there on “One Palm Isle” it was stalking through the shallow water on the lookout – for divers and no doubt even more so for finger food.

One Palm Isle off Lankanfushi Island

One Palm Isle off Lankanfushi Island

Blue heron next to breakfast tables

Imagine my even greater surprise the next morning when we were sitting at breakfast on the beach and another one of these grey herons was there to keep us company, and this time in really trusting fashion almost by our table!

The excitement!

Erfan, our waiter, seeing our big eyes and cameras going into ready mode, with a laugh that let his snowwhite teeth shine, finally let on that this was “Bob,” the island’s grey heron… He came at breakfast time every day, because now and then the tourists brought him something from the fish buffet.

Well, great!

Waiter Erfan and travel blogger Katja

Waiter Erfan and Katja

Only now did I notice how Bob would hurriedly stalk to the next table each time that new guests arrived for breakfast. And now I also knew how that “intrepid” photo on this other blog came to be: not after an adrenaline-fueled hunt through mangrove jungle, but shot from a comfortable beach-side chair…

Incidentally, the house grey heron was named after an investor in the resort who often passes through the island. From that morning on, Bob was a constant presence: not only did he show up daily for breakfast, one time he even paid us a courtesy visit on our sundeck!

Bob the Maldives grey heron on Gili Lankanfushi sundeck

Bob on our sundeck

Paparazzo Walter und Bob the grey heron on the Gili Lankanfushi sundeck

Walter and Bob in stalking mode – who’ll be the first to blink?

What an adventure ;-)


About Author

Walter Schaerer’s extensive background in the travel industry, passionate enthusiasm for photography and a firm belief that luxury destinations can also be affordable; were some of the main factors that motivated him to create the travel blog In his day job Walter is an online marketing manager based out of Zurich, Switzerland.

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