A NEWPORT family had a surprise when they opened the curtains this weekend and found a “four-feet-tall” heron staring back at them from a neighbouring roof.

Alan Malpas, 57, who was confronted by the beady-eyed bird, guessed it was a mile away from Lliswerry Pond, the nearest stretch of water, and believes it was blown off course by Saturday morning’s thunderstorm.

The heron stayed on the Walmer Road roof in Maindee for around ten minutes before stretching its wings and flying away.

Mr Malpas said: “I have never seen anything like it. It was nearer the railway line than water. The thunderstorm was around 6am and I saw it around 7am – I was just getting ready to take the dog out. It flew off towards the west.”

He recognised the bird after watching herons at Newport Wetlands and while camping in Cornwall – but has never seen any near a chimney pot before.

His wife Kim Malpas woke up her 14-year-old son to see the unusual sight, but was unable to rouse her teenage daughter during the early hours.

She said: “It looked so majestic. I woke my son up and said, ‘Come and look at this!’ He was amazed. I just grabbed the camera. Whether someone has a fish pond nearby I don’t know – maybe it got lost in the storm.”

* Do you have an unusual picture of Gwent wildlife? Send it to newsdesk@gwent-wales.co.uk