Our fish have gone. Our lovely new (and therefore newly stocked) pond has been raided. It shouldn’t have come as a surprise I suppose. I’d even noted a heron flying over the village a few times recently. Then I began to realise that I was disturbing it from somewhere nearby when I took the dog out down the alley. And then there was the day that I went to hang the washing out and saw a heron take off from the edge of our pond.
After that I took to counting fish daily. They seemed to be coping OK, hiding in the submerged terracotta pots we put in the bottom … until the day I caught the culprit brazenly standing on the lawn staring into the water.
I chased him off in a perfunctory way, but when I counted that day I couldn’t see any fish whatsoever.
So, we appear to being targeted by a juvenile grey heron. He’s been back several times (actually I’ve no idea about gender), making me optimistic that there must be some fish left in there that are good at hiding.
Then, last weekend when I was at the kitchen window I was startled to see a heron strolling though the archway to the patio (there is another small pond there too). I guess he was surprised too, because he waited to see what I would do (get my camera of course!!)
He is a very large bird and very elegant. I’ve labelled him a juvenile since juveniles are greyer than adults, without the darker markings (such as the broad black stripe that runs from the eyes to the nape).
Eventually, I chased him off, but I don’t think that he is particularly bothered by me. I expect to see him again shortly. Sadly, I can no longer spot any fish in the small pond either, so he appears to be a fairly efficient fisherman.
We had another unexpected visitor to our patio area last week in the shape of a female sparrowhawk (Accipiter nisus).
She seemed to be mostly interested in taking a bath. I spotted her fluttering around the waterfall to the small pond, but she couldn’t settle. Eventually she perched on top of the chiminea, checked out her surroundings and then moved on to the birdbath.
There you have it, two successful predators and an exercise in contrasts. Just compare their beaks, talons and body shapes. I’ve not seen either close up in the garden before, so that has been most exciting.
I’m joining Tina @mygardenersays for Wildlife Wednesday (first Wednesday of each month). In her post today she finds herself reflecting that in a thriving wildlife garden ‘life and death is business as usual’. This post would seem to illustrate her point.