Wednesday 29 May 2013

The War on Terror

No more sightings of Mr Heron ( a real terrorist if you happen to be a fish!).  Of course, I am sure he is still around.
But I thought I might review the saga of my relations with Mr Heron from the beginning, and how I hope finally to outwit him.

Having dug a fish-pond with my own fair hands (and a dinky mechanical digger I hired) at my last parish, I came to Barney with the same idea of keeping fish.  This is my pond at St Patrick's Ryhope.
After a few months I bought a four thousand gallon tank and about a dozen fish. This pic gives you an idea of what the tank might have looked like before the weight of snow in 2010 collapsed the structure built to keep out Mr Heron. Because it was here that I first came into contact with The Terrorist - he had been standing on the edge doing a spot of fishing.
After a year or so, the PP of Ryhope St Pat's offered me all the fish that remained at Ryhope. I made arrangements with a professional to bring them to Barney, and I put them into the tank. This meant that the fish in the tank were tightly packed, shoulder to shoulder. I asked the same professional to make        me a pond at the front of the house. And so it was done.
As you can see, it was built level with the tarmac at the front of the house. The children used to love standing on the stones at the side of the pond, bending and pointing at the fish. No-one fell in, but it was touch and go at times.
Mr Heron also used to like to stand on the edge of the pond to perform his nefarious deeds. Which is what I discovered one early morning when I found a half-eaten fish lying on the tarmac; the surveillance tape showed me the heron standing on the side and fishing to his heart's content. This was when I first started to put string and rope around the front of the pond.
I didn't need to worry about the far side where the pampas grass was well established, looking, as Number Two said, like camouflaged assassins, or ghillies, or some such. At the front of the pond, I next installed metre long spikes into the rocks and fixed netting to the spikes.

But, as you can see, having cut back the leafy, hairy, pampas grass, the pond is wide open for the heron to attack from the lawn-side of the pond.  I filled the gaps with odd bits of fencing and string.

But then came the latest outrage from Mr Heron. He jumped into the pond and swam or strode about looking for his breakfast.

The only solution then is to cover the whole pond with a net, because I know that he can get into the pond, and he knows that he can get into the pond, but whether he knows that I know that he knows ..... (Iwish I had never started that). We have now fixed more spikes and garden netting around the open side and we have covered about half the pond with a net.

As soon as I can, I will cover the whole pond with a net, and with a lot of luck I will be able to frustrate the heron in his ambition to empty my pond of my fish. Who knows at this stage whether I will succeed?

Now for the next really diifficult challenge - to defeat the other horrible enemy - the grean, slimy algae and blanket weed. No matter how much you scoop out or how many chemicals ("doesn't hurt the fish") you throw into the pond, nothing seems to work. 


  1. There is another solution to netting as I suggested last year - a shotgun. Simple and quick. I know that it is a protected species but your garden is secluded, the terrorist would be despatched, and no one would be any the wiser.
    I am sure I read that someone floated a plastic crocodile in their pond and that worked. I also read that it is the heron that transports the algae from pond to pond so if you get rid of your terrorist then your algae problem might also be solved. Sort of killing two birds with one stone, as they say.

    1. No 2: As you say, a shotgun could provide a permanent solution. But I have a couple of problems: I don't know if there is only one heron (all herons look alike to me) and I know there are a few in the area, and secondly, supposing my Mr Heron is popular among his own kind, and they all turn up for a wake after I shoot him. Then things would be even worse than they are now. I think I may just stick with my strategy of netting the pond.

  2. Re the slimy sludge....whenever I leave my garden to God, he seems to encourage the wild side of the fact it can be a right mess!!