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My pond fish haven’t come to the top recently........


I found out why and you can see why……

Yes, sitting on top of my art studio is a Great Blue Heron and it is in the process of purveying my ponds to select what it wants for breakfast. Will it be my fish pond or perhaps some frogs or tadpoles from my frog pond….decisions, decisions. It’s very interesting to watch it spear a fish with both beaks closed, then to flip it up and off and with its beaks open to catch it in its gullet. Now here comes tha fun part…the bird swallows the fish whole and you can see the fish slide down its long neck finally to end its gastronomic trip into the Herons stomach.
I have many fish in the pond and this Heron has shown up the same time every year for many years to thin out my very crowded fish pond. Do you have Great Blue Herons in the UK?

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Our herons are white Loostrife, but they still enjoy a fish breakfast! They look so funny when the perch up in a tree.
You must have plenty of fish if there are some to spare for the birds! Regret to say our fish all ended up as heron's food...
I didn't know there were blue herons - but yours only looks blue in a poor light so maybe ours might if we saw them early morning?

2 Oct, 2021


Hi Stera! The coloring in full light is a blue grey. The heron stood perched on the roof for about four hours but it did take one fish. My pond holds about 60 fish some 10 to 12 inches in length. The predator that does concern me is the mink. One day a few years ago a mink took every fish out of that pond. This bird stands about five feet in height and has a prehistoric look about it when in flight.

3 Oct, 2021


I had a heron, cleared out nearly all the fish in my pond. This one perched on top of my greenhouse until the coast was clear

One it missed was large one, maybe to heavy? But the fish forever after had beak scars, one on each side

3 Oct, 2021


Having a garden pond loaded with fish or a vegetable garden is quite an invitation to dinner or in this case breakfast isn’t it?

3 Oct, 2021


Your heron is Ardea herodias, which we dont get in the UK. We have the grey heron [Ardea cinerea] which looks very similar to yours. Heron relatives are the little egret [Egretta garzetta] which is all white with black legs, cattle egret, [Bubulcus ibis] which is a lovely slender heron and the great white egret, Ardea alba] which is the same size as our grey heron.

When daughter was in Wales we got too see a cattle egret that was a visitor to the UK, though they are getting more and more common. The purple heron [Ardea purpurea] is becoming a more common visitor too.

I think all herons look extremely prehistoric you can see how the dinosaurs evolved into birds with them.

We occasionally have a grey heron on the wall of our pond but they don't often fish as they cant step down into the water.

Its the herring gulls that can scoop them out the surface. They soon learn to stay down.

3 Oct, 2021


Love your picture Loosestrife, and sorry about your fish but he is an awesome bird.

We have Pacific Great Blue Heron (Ardea herodias fannini) here on Vancouver Island. We do not have a pond so I do not see it too often ....only on our walks and in the park's ponds.

3 Oct, 2021


Correct me if I am wrong but I believe that Egrets and Herons were on the edge of extinction in the early part of the 20th century due to the millinery fad at the time of attaching the feathers of these birds to ladies hats.

3 Oct, 2021


sadly that is true of many pretty birds, especially those that had iridescent feathers. Started off really in th elate Georgian times when some ladies had full birds/wings on their elaborate wigs/hats. It peaked in the mid late Victorian era but by then the damage had been done.

3 Oct, 2021


Interesting blog. I saw a purple heron in France once. I didn't know they were becoming commoner over here, like the little egret has I suppose. On lakes round here there are loads of Egyptian geese nowadays. They are as common as the Canada geese, I think they're doing a take -over. Not sure whether these species are ever culled.

4 Oct, 2021


Such a magnificent bird at least it’s only once a year he turns up 🙂 we have grey herons here in Wales and as your they seem to turn up on the same river banks each year .

4 Oct, 2021


Now that is one very handsome bird but not one I would appreciate eyeing up my pond, we do get an occasional visit from a heron, usually springtime but thankfully our pond is netted so no harm done, years back a neighbour had his pond emptied of fish within a few days, not a risk I'm prepared to take, my pond is staying netted...

6 Oct, 2021

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