my fish re-appeared today in my pond - amazing how they disappear completely during the cold weather, for about 5 months, but after just a couple of days of sunshine they're back in action and hungry again like nothing has happened.
I'd had a scare cos a couple died quite close to each other about a month ago (including my one and only goldfish - known as terminator), so I thought there might have been some kind of disease picking them off one by one. but after a couple more weeks with no deaths, I'm assuming they were the unlucky casualties of a heron attack.
yeah - nice natural pond - a big hole full of murky water, which the fish seem to thrive in because there's more natural food for them and the low visibility protects them from predators.
a couple of moorhens come and nest on the bank every year and have at least 5 chicks each time (not all survive though, but that's nature for you). this year there's a new addition in the neighbourhood who's suddenly appeared and settled down - a coot (picture below). it's very tame and happily hangs around while I'm out there feeding the fish.
i was educated on this only a couple of days ago by cheekybuddha who had a moorhen encounter recently (but that's another story)
for personal reasons i've always felt some affinity with moorhens, and so assumed that i knew the diff between them and coots.
turns out not
apparently moorhens have a red go-faster stripe on their beaks...coots don't
I assumed it was a moorhen at first, but saw it up close and noticed the differences.
moorhen = black feathers with white details, red beak with yellow tip, yellow legs and long, thin toes
coot = all black feathers, white beak that extends quite far up his head ("bald as a coot"), with white / grey legs and really interesting toes - each one has webbed segments hanging either side. if he gets startled he runs across the water surface - a very impressive trick.
he's quite slow on land compared to the moorhens, so I guess that's why he stays in the water when I'm around - his crazy feet and water-walking skills give him a better chance of escape if he's threatened while he's in the water.
I'm hoping a mate will turn up and they'll make a nest.