Thursday, October 6, 2016

Something's Missing Around Here

 While Carl and I have been off gallivanting on rooftops, a thief took advantage of us.  A flying thief with ridiculous stick-like legs,  a snake-like neck and nasty, pointy beak.

 A heron.

No, I don't have any pictures of the marauder, but he or she has been here numerous times.  I fear most of our lovely koi have been carried away in the belly of the beast(s).  

Below is a picture of some of our fish a few weeks ago; they were almost like pets, following us around the pond.  We've dealt with herons in the past and know what they're capable of.  If your pond's fish population is overcrowded, it won't be when the herons get done with you.

What I want to know is how does the skinny heron keep such a svelte figure when it apparently stuffs itself silly with all the fish and frogs it can find?  

The pond had gone quite low this summer and I was amazed we hadn't had any herons or raccoons decimating the fish earlier.  Now that we've had some rain and the water level is getting back to a normal height, the water lilies have sprouted all new leaves and are starting to bloom again providing a lot of cover for the fish to hide under.  

Apparently not enough cover, though.  

 We've been gone on the roof job at David's since Saturday with only pit stops at home to take care of Mom and other mundane tasks which means I wasn't outside like usual.  It is amazing how the herons know when we're gone, the creepy buggers must sit in the trees and watch us leave. It's enough to make a person paranoid.

Yesterday I saw the lily pads were trampled and I realized what had happened.  I went to feed the fish but saw only a handful of tiny goldfish darting about frantically.  There might be a few koi left in there somewhere; sometimes the older fish know enough to remain absolutely motionless when under attack, but I'm not getting my hopes too high.  

Since I was home alone, I grabbed the patio furniture and carted it all down to the pond's bank, setting it up haphazardly in a random pattern.  The theory is herons don't like to land in the water and with their large wingspans, they need a good amount of open space to accommodate them.  Sometimes changing the landscape, moving furniture around, putting up a scarecrow, etc. works temporarily, but they are also not stupid and soon figure out the ruse.

Looks like we're having a rummage sale or the remains of a drunken party, doesn't it?  

Apparently the heron wasn't deterred by the untidy furniture display and went right back to the fish bar when my back was turned.

I should have known better and installed some protection in the Quarry over a month ago, but when you have weddings and people coming for photography the Fish Corral sticks out like a sore thumb and it's not something we can quickly dismantle.

On Wednesday night when I told Carl of the heron's fish massacre, he dropped everything and helped me install our makeshift corral. It's really ugly, a chicken wire/fiberglass fence post/bird screen netting contraption set up in a circle which allows the fish to flee inside for protection but keeps the herons on their deadly quest out.
Unfortunately, I think it's too late for our koi and frogs this year.  

In fact, about ten minutes after we had the corral in place, Joel stopped in for a visit with baby Audrey (who was fast asleep) and scared up another heron wading in the Quarry.  For crying out loud, at least let us keep the minnows!

Enough about the pesky fish vultures, let's talk about something happy:  here are some pretty pictures taken a few weeks ago of Audrey:

 Audrey loves to look at the stained glass lamps, especially the Rosebush.

 Audrey was napping today when she came with Joel and we had to hightail it into Green Bay tonight to assist Dave with buying a garage door, so we didn't get a chance to cuddle with her.  

But Great-Grandma Lucille did, and I heard all about it tonight when I stopped in to give Mom her medication.

"Audrey is the most beautiful baby!  And she's so good!" Mom said, with tears in her eyes.  Mom was tickled pink.  "Abby and Joel are taking such good care of the baby."

Mom's short-term memory isn't what it used to be, but she'll never forget Audrey, that is for certain.  She'll tell me again tomorrow morning that she saw Audrey and the happy smile will still be there.  And I'll nod and smile, too.



FlowerLady Lorraine said...

I'm sorry about your pond marauder.

But, what a sweetie pie Audrey is. Absolutely adorable!

Have a great Thursday. Love & hugs ~ FlowerLady

Karen said...

Thank you, Rainey! The first thing I did this morning was check out Florida's radar and forecast; I'm praying for everyone in the path, and you, most especially.

outlawgardener said...

Those pesky herons! Sorry to hear about your koi, they really do become like pets. Audrey is a doll and is a sweet distraction from the fish massacre.

Tootsie said...

sorry to hear you are being ROBBBED! It is frustrating! Your photos are gorgeous as usual...even with the messy furniture display. :) I still insist yours are the most beautiful gardens I have seen

Beth @ PlantPostings said...

Audrey is beautiful! What a joy for the entire family. I can see why she's fascinated by your stained glass work! Good to know how to deal with herons. I don't have any here, but if we ever move to a place near the water with a big open area, I'll remember your post. :)

Pamela Gordon said...

Audrey is so sweet! How she is growing too. I'm getting caught up on your posts and see you've been as busy as ever. I read with interest, about your mother's visit to the doctor. I remember those trips with my mother and mother-in-law. Very tiresome!! Sorry to hear the heron got most of your fish and frogs. Thanks for visiting me today. It was so nice to hear from you. I hope you are feeling a bit better with your own health issues and get the rest you need. Take care. Pam

Beth said...

Hi Karen, We lost all of our goldfish (about 14) over the past 2 or 3 weeks. Can you tell me more about your "koi castle"? I'd like to put something in place next year so this doesn't happen again at our small pond. I know you can do netting over the pond but maybe there is something easier to "install."
Audrey is a little dolly! What a sweet blessing she is. :)

Anonymous said...

Audrey is so cute. You must be thrilled to have her visit and be mesmerized by all the color in the glass work. Your pond is beautiful even if the heron is visiting. It looks like you have a number of fish though.

Karen said...

Peter, are herons a problem in WA? I imagine they are everywhere. Yes, Audrey is the best distraction ever!

Glenda, thank you, but I think you have my garden beat hands down! Your garden is always fabulous!

Beth, thank you! Audrey does seem partial to the Rosebush lamp. Herons are cunning and crafty buggers.

Pamela, thank you for understanding about dealing with my mom. I'm not trying to make fun of her, but I have to admit sometimes I'll bust out laughing when I'm with her and then she'll join in because our conversations are so goofy.

Beth, aw, Phooey!! I'll post a follow-up of the fish corral next. It's so disheartening to see none of your fish in the pond.

Donna, thank you! Yes, we still have a few hundred small fry left, though I doubt many of them are koi. Oh well, lesson learned, we have to install the corral earlier next year.