When will it stop?


There is a dark shadow over our garden. A creature, looking as if it has flown in from the set of Jurassic Park, landed on our Shropshire damson tree. The thin branches were quivering up and down whilst the bird flapping its huge dark wings, balanced, and stumbled unsteadily.

It was a heron who is very interested in our ornamental pond where fifteen bright fish have lived minding their own business undisturbed for years. The fish have become quite tame. They seem to hear our footsteps and come up to feed on the floating pellets we give them. Our fat hen follows and if she is lucky she pecks at some fish food.

But this was not a normal time and the next thing we saw was the heron paddling in the pond making huge stabs with its dagger-like beak. A harmless goldfish, that had lived with us for ten years, was stabbed. It was not eaten but it died of its wounds all the same.

At dusk and in the pouring rain Mr T ran out and threw a net over the pond. In the morning the heron was standing on the net eagerly piercing anything that innocently swam past. Two more nets were secured over the top. We do not know how many fish have survived; they will be hidden at the bottom of the pond until it is safe.

A lot of creatures are interested in our pond. Sometimes a cat comes for a drink and small birds bathe. Once a moorhen nested there and we often have ducks swimming about.

One of our outside taps has been leaking where the hose was attached. Off I went to the internet to get some ‘duck tape’ only to realise that it is really called duct tape (a bit like the fork handles joke). In any case I was wrong on two counts because it was not duct tape that we needed; it was PTFE (polytetrafluoroethylene!) tape. Now we need a clip to tighten it and I learn that it has the apt name of jubilee clip.

Whilst all this has been going on I saw two robins with insects and grubs in their beaks. They are going towards the dovecote. I think that this is the pair that nested in a box near our kitchen window, but they deserted for some reason. They started again and are now feeding young tucked safely on the ‘ground’ floor of our dovecote.

Then just at the end of the following day we settled down to watch TV only to see a huge bird on the patio, with long legs and dagger beak, marching towards the fishpond.

 (Taken from my column in the Shropshire Star)

The robins that deserted their nest near our window have reared another brood in the dovecot 


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