Sunday, June 26, 2016

Nature, Red in Tooth and Claw*

Great Blue Heron (Source)
And apparently "red in beak" as well.

As many long time readers know, there is a pond at Chez Sarge. It once was home to many fish, both large and small. Of the koi and goldfish clans they were.

Then one fall we noticed large aquatic waterfowl in the area, of the heron and egret variety, not unusual for a coastal town with lots of water and salt marshes about. We also noticed that we were missing some fish!

So, in accordance with advice from our local fish pond experts, we purchased netting which was spread over the pond in the fall and stayed until spring. The experts assumed that it was the migratory birds flying about which had spotted our pond and assumed that it was a "fast food" emporium. No need to hunt, just stop in and grab and go.

The net worked, no losses of fish.

Then last year some strange malady killed all of the koi. Every. Last. One.

Didn't impact the goldfish at all, just the koi. We lost many a fish which had graced the pond from it's beginnings.

Goldie. A whale of a fish, a good 12 inches long!

Jumper. So named for his tendency to leap out of the holding tank onto the lawn while we were doing spring cleaning in the main pond.

Spaz. So named for the panic which always ensued for no apparent reason. Normally she was fine, every now and then she would freak out and dash for cover. Panicking all of the other fish as well.

Leo. So named for his leopard-like speckled coloring.

They all died. That really sucked.

Then this last Friday afternoon I went out to feed the goldfish. There were none to be seen except for one lone fish who was hiding under the pump intake. He immediately dashed into the weeds upon my approach.

'Twas then that I noted that breakfast was still floating around, unconsumed. Odd that.

I searched but could see no fish, no fish at all.

There I was, Saturday morning, out to dump some recycling when this great bloody feathered dinosaur lifted off from where it had been standing in the yard. Next to my bloody pond!

It's the wrong time of year, says I. Apparently that effing heron needs to buy a calendar.

Damn it.

All the fish, save one, are gone. Fish we've had for over five years.

All gone except that little orange one near the top left.
(Yes, I'm rather pissed about it.)

Time to break out the nets again.

The Missus Herself says it would be a bad idea to set up an anti-heron radar and missile system in the backyard.

"Not even a few anti-heron guns?"

"Not a one."

Freaking Nature....

Update:

Four more survivors were found Saturday evening! There are five left, and I had to chase that feathered dinosaur off two more times yesterday. The neighbor's dog Hercules provided a very loud assist.






*Who trusted God was love indeed
And love Creation's final law
Tho' Nature, red in tooth and claw
With ravine, shriek'd against his creed
"In Memoriam A.H.H." - Alfred, Lord Tennyson Canto 56

30 comments:

  1. Maybe an Airsoft CIWS?
    B1-RD inbound! Fire!

    We stopped providing the birds and raccoons with expensive live food some years ago.

    Did you consider one of those electric eye water squirting devices? Mostly used for deer, but probably you could easily adapt one to the pond.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That electrical eye water squirting thingy seems to have potential.

      Though the Airsoft CIWS sounds way cooler!

      Delete
  2. I wonder if that things tastes as good as spotted owl? (Maybe with a side of Ridley sea turtle, kinda fin and feather)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. They are certainly big enough, probably kinda bony I'll bet.

      Delete
  3. I'd say a claymore with an optical trigger would cover the area rather nicely. Wouldn't be as sexy as the CIWS but
    would probably be a bit cheaper. Or maybe some bouncing bettys would be less intrusive.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You understand Russ that we need to get to the pond ourselves. The mines would have to be command detonated and...

      Bouncing bettys? My, you like to think big don't you?

      Delete
    2. Yeah, I do try to think big but I guess you do have to have access to the pond. Spoil sport! ;-)
      Actually John probably has the right idea with the water squirting device.

      Delete
    3. I wonder if it comes in a scary black "assault" rifle version.

      Delete
  4. You could compare notes with John May.
    He's had some experience with herons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I will have to read back through his archives. After I devour the posts on Stratford-on-Avon, of course.

      Delete
    2. May's Meanderings has been added to the blog roll.

      Delete
  5. Beautiful birds, unless you have a fish pond. I have heard this from three other people I know who have a fish pond. If you build a fish pond they will come. One friend criss-crosses fishing line across his pond and claims it is only visible to the birds.

    Anyway I would be pissed as well.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. We've only had a problem twice in ten years. But the fishing line sounds like it could work.

      Lot of work though.

      Delete
  6. Tell the Missus that they make an automatic nerf rifle that is tons of fun to shoot.

    Said ancient dinosaur would likely run away (yes that mental image is fine) from said assault.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Ooh, ooh, nerf rifle! Best idea yet!

      Delete
  7. Or...

    You could stock your pond with bait fish and allow visitors to view the heron feeding.

    When life gives you herons, charge admission.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That would be a "no go" from the start. 'Tis The Missus Herself who is the proprietress of the pond.

      Delete
  8. I am sorry for your loses. Fined friends are no less special than four-legged ones. Untimely loss is especially sad.

    Paul L. Quandt

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks Paul, it was good to see that more than one survived.

      Delete
  9. You could compare notes with John May.
    He's had some experience with herons.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Um, yes. Like you mentioned above.

      I'll bet you're commenting from either a tablet or a phone. DAMHIK

      Delete
  10. Aren't you being a tad bit mammal-centric? Wikipedia says both eagles, and Great Horned Owls eat Great Blue Herons. Eagles eat fish, so no help there, but just you go down to Owls R Us, and get yourself a Great Horned Owl! Maybe the aquaria supply that you get your fish from, has an OwlBox out front, where you could rent one for a few days?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Great horned owls are awesome. They would no doubt keep the rodent population down as well.

      Capital idea Scott.

      Delete
    2. They are one of the coolest of birds!

      Delete
    3. Owls are awesome, whatever the variety.

      Delete
  11. Had the same problem a few years ago. The sound of water from fountains attracts them. They will come back until all fish are gone.I covered my pond with chicken wire in the spring and fall for a couple years and I haven't seen hide nor hair of one for 3 years. At the time we had 5 bassett hounds and they didn't know what to make of this 4 ft. bird in the back yard.
    good luck. John

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yeah, we normally cover the pond with netting in the spring and fall, that worked for quite a while. This return of the giant water fowl was unexpected. We're exploring a year round solution.

      Thanks John!

      Delete

Just be polite... that's all I ask. (For Buck)