Sunday, March 29, 2009

Harold! Where WERE you???

One day last week after work I cooked dinner as usual, cleaned up..then went outside to feed the fish. I could hear the trickle of the water from the old red pump hitting the pond, but there was a strange, stillness in the backyard. I walked over with food in my hand to toss in the water, and realized what I sensed..there were no fish!
Remember last May when we got back from my son's graduation I came home to find that a Blue Heron had himself a nice dinner from my pond. Oh my gosh..the same thing happened again! I was sick. I bought Harold to fool any Heron that might fly by thinking the pond already had a bird . (Herons are not very social. They don't like to visit a pond that already has another bird feeding.)
I was very mad and very sad, but last week was so busy that I didn't have the time to dwell on it. I did have a talk with Harold, but he just stared at me.
Two nights later my husband decided to clean the submersible pump. He came and got me to tell me he saw where the Heron did his fishing as he knocked off one side of a plant sitting on the edge of the pond. We also noticed a tiny little baby fish hiding behind the pump. That was not a big surprise as I thought a baby or two might have survived the attack since they are so little. So..hubby cleans the pump and puts it back in the water.
I got busy with backyard chores and happen to glance at the pond. What is that I keep seeing? I walk over, peep in, and guess what I see? Lots of fish!! I couldn't believe my eyes. They were very skittish, darting in and out from behind the pond plants, but they were there! Where had they been? I looked at Harold who stood there very proudly but wasn't talking, and I figured it out. I couldn't see them because they were hiding from me, just like they hid from that Blue Heron! We have lots of underwater grass and when the fish swim down to the bottom of the pond, you cannot see them in the grass. I'm sure Harold told the Heron this pond was taken and he would have to find another feeding spot which gave the fish time to seek protection. (Actually, I think the Heron had a small snack before he left which gave the other fish time to swim to the bottom) The weather turned cold on Friday and Saturday, so the fish went back to the grass. Today it is much warmer, but I can only see spots of color in the tall grass-the fish remain in hiding. That's ok--they have pond algae to eat and are much safer staying where they are until the pond plants start to cover the surface again. You can't help but grow fond of something you feed everyday-even fish. Herons are one of the problems ponders have. Hubby has done lots of research on the best plan of action..and we have a few ideas we may try in the near future. In the meantime I'm leaving it all up to Harold--he really was there doing his job!
Thanks Harold!!

21 comments:

Barbee' said...

Good ole Harold! But, that was a bit of a scare.

Susie said...

Your pond is so beautiful! I didn't know Herons like to visit home ponds. I learn something new everyday.

Good thing you got Harold.Maybe he was doing his job.

perennialgardener said...

That was a clever idea of putting Harold out there to ward off other Blue Herons. I'm glad your fish survived his visit. :)

Aunt Debbi/kurts mom said...

Thanks goodness they are okay. Mine have gone back down to the bottom too since it got colder.

Meadowview Thymes said...

Hi Barbee! Yes, it was quite a scare, but with a happy ending!
Has it warmed up in your area yet? Those pictures on your blog of the snow looked really pretty--but cold! :)

Susie, Herons are really the enemy of ponds. Ponders do all kinds of things to help with the problems. The ponds with Koi really suffer as the Koi are too big for the Herons to carry off and they drop the fish in the yard, thus the pond owner comes home to find a half eaten dead fish in their yard. Ugh!!

Racquel, Harold was doing his job after all--but we know the Heron is lurking about so I still worry about the fish.

Debbi-I hope they stay at the bottom for a while. They were so scared, I think it will take them a while to trust me to feed them. Poor things!

cindee said...

Yay for Harold! I didn't know that about those birds! I lost all my fish to a raccoon one year! The biggest fish I had for years! I was devastated when that happened. I replaced the fish and of course I am attached to these now too! As soon as they hear me they swim out of their hiding spot. One thing I did do though is make it so they had a place to hide from another attack if that happened. They are in a bathtub so I put a huge brick in the tub and sat an old sink on top of that. They hide under that now. A raccoon can not fit between the brick and the side of the tub.

tina said...

I agree with you, you do really grow fond of your fish. I lost all of mine last fall and was and still am quite upset. So glad Harold is doing his job and you have some survivors. I do hope no more go missing.

JenningsJunk said...

Great pictures of Harold and your pond. So glad your little darlings are safe. And, I'm really glad your spirits have lifted a little after finding them!!

Meadowview Thymes said...

Cindee--we have 2 black cubes that have pond plants sitting on them. The fish can swim inside and hide..and they do some, but seem to hang out in that grass more. I will feel better when the plants start to spread. Unless they come up to feed, you can't see them very well. Sorry the raccoon got your fish. We have lots of raccoons too, but so far they have not bothered the pond.

Tina, how did you lose your fish? Cindee lost her to a raccoon which is another enemy of ponders. I just have little goldfish, but losing koi could get really expensive not to mention heart breaking.

jj--yeah, you had to put up with me for a couple of days in sad mode! I sure am glad most survived the attack. It's ok with me for them to stay at the bottom of the pond for a while!

Msrobin said...

Whew, good thing Harold was on the job! I'll keep that in mind if I ever get a pond put in, as there is a nature preserve and pond down the road, where a huge heron colony lives! We enjoy seeing them flying over, but if I have a pond full of fish, I don't think I'd like it as much!

tina said...

I think due to a raccoon or some other night marauding criminal. I turned on the night time lights and there went my poor fish. I'd had them for a few years and they were buddies. So sad. Haven't gotten anymore because of it. No koi for me, just the regular ole goldfish for .32 cents at Wal mart, but they were like 6" long after three years. Oh well. Thanks for asking. I am out of town this week and not blogging so much but will be back as soon as possible.

Nola @ the Alamo said...

Your pond is beautiful. I never even thought of birds "fishing" in your pond; I didn't realize that might happen! How clever you were to put your own heron up for protection.

Brenda@View From The Pines said...

I just love the serenity I feel each time I see your pond. You know, I've had two fish in my pond for 3 years. And never had a problem. I wonder why? Here's something you might try, though it probably won't fool those birds. This year I put in a blue pond tint that tints the water till the plants get lush. I did this because of too much algae. It does obscure the fish.
Brenda

Meadowview Thymes said...

msrobin, those Heron are scarey looking to me. We were in Tyler at a park and one flew up and landed close to us...I was not at all happy with him sitting there!
The heron by us has a lake close by he can fish in--he doesn't need to bother with my little pond! I'm sure Harold explained that to him! :)

Meadowview Thymes said...

Nola, when we put the pond in many years ago, I never gave it one thought. But at that time we had a tree that hid the pond from the birds flying by. The pond is in plain sight I am afraid now that the tree is gone. We get good sun for the plants--but it poses a danger for the fish!

Brenda--thank you for the compliment. That means alot coming from one with such a wonderful backyard setting like yours! Great idea about the tint. Where do you get it? I wish the pond plants would hurry up and spread--I think that will help. The poor fish still will not come out of the grass.

Dawn said...

This was a nice story and your pond is beautiful. Thanks for sharing.

Meadowview Thymes said...

The story had a happy ending..this time Dawn. The fish are STILL at the bottom though. I wonder if the Heron is hanging around during the day when I am at work?

Jan (Thanks For 2 Day) said...

I'm so glad it all worked out for the best! Harold is a keeper:-) Those fish are pretty smart, too! It sounds so nice to have a pond. I am sure it brings you lots of pleasure;-)

Meadowview Thymes said...

Thanks for your nice thoughts Jan. I do love that pond..and the fish. My little backyard and the pond are my little piece of heaven! :)

Cindy, My Corner of Katy said...

I'm glad Harold was up to the job! I wonder if the Texas/Mexican persimmon overhanging my pond helps keep the larger predators away? It makes landing difficult, I would think.

Your pond is just gorgeous. If my 2 waterlilies don't get enough surface area covered, what would you suggest I add that can tolerate shadier conditions?

Meadowview Thymes said...

Cindy, try water poppies. They need some sun, but not nearly as much as the lilies do. They spread out and have little yellow flowers. I think there is a picture of them in my pond back in a summer post. I have a very small pond, and 2 poppy plants. That was plenty to get great coverage! They die back in winter (may not in your area) but come back in spring.
And, yes, I think the tree is hiding your fish from sight if a Heron should fly over. Yea!!