Wednesday, May 23, 2007

Visitor Takes Up Residence

We would like to introduce you to a visitor who appears to have taken up permanent residence at our home. Actually he has been loafing around for the past several years as we would see him on occasion, but only now is he particularly predominant.

Until recently our pond held anywhere from 30-50 goldfish and 13 beautiful Koi. We loved our evening summer ritual of feeding the fish and enjoying one another’s company while sitting and watching their movement in the water and looking at the the color of the water lilies. How amazing it is to do the same thing night after night and never tire of it.

However the pond also contributed to some frustration: the water clarity never seemed to be up to par despite every attempt to do the right thing. Perhaps the greatest annoyance was the Great Blue Heron, a beautiful bird that we love to observe, but not particularly when it does its shopping at our front door when a lake is only a few miles away. In order to keep him from eating the fish we would have to place a net over the entire structure for many months. Now how attractive is that? Having read that they are territorial, we even placed a statue of a heron near the water in order to keep him away. Forget it! The final straw occurred several months ago. Momma, our prize large Koi, about 2 feet long, was gone, missing, no trace of her anywhere. So after 14 years we finally gave up. It broke my heart.

On the bright side, the Koi and Goldfish now have a wonderful home, a huge reservoir with other “brothers and sisters” where they will be safe from predators. We gave them to friends who are relatively close by, and from time to time we can visit and see them.

It appears we may have an Oregon Spotted Frog (Rana pretisoa) who has claimed ownership of our clear water pond. I say appears for there are two different frogs which resemble one another so closely it is difficult to differentiate.

Nonetheless, the pond has several bridges of large stacked rocks which we originally placed in order to offer shelter for the fish, and as those remain, ole Spotty or Big Eyes just hangs out close to the edge of the flat rock basking in the sun and warmth of the day, that is until I approach, whereby he simply slips down into the water and hides beneath. Do you have any idea how long a frog can hold his breathe?