Wednesday, 11 August 2010

Hair on?

On yet another grey day I was sitting in the hide at Whittle Dene the other day when joined by a bloke who had recently taken up birdwatching. I no doubt bored him witless imparting my ID hints and trying to find a decent view of a Yellow Wagtail. Four or five juveniles were present but stubbornly staying on the bank out of sight of the hide. As a Heron flew by he commented on the use of plastic dummies to stop birds raiding ponds and I imparted yet more wisdom which on reflection may be total bollocks.
My understanding of the situation is that the plastic dummies may work for a short period but that being smooth (a limitation of the manufacturing process) and quite dull they may actually attract other Herons as only a dominant male looking mean with a long mantel and blowy about bits (nape plume) would actually act as a deterrent. This one pictured at Druridge last week seems to fit the bill (sorry).

He certainly knew how to stand guard. I guess if you have fishies you're attached to or Koi Carp at £200 a shot you'll try anything to protect them. I had a run in with a neighbour ten years ago who I believed had damaged one bird whilst protecting his goldfish although the incident occured a good distance from the pond. Herons unfortunately are heavily persecuted as I found out years later when seeing some figures relating to a fish farm. My neighbour not only blamed the Heron for eating the fish but for turning them a different colour and making them shy to emerge from cover. I tended to think it may have more likely to have been sound shock from the extensive fireworks of his Millenium celebration but live and let...

Of course if your dominant Heron then minces around like a duckie then I doubt he would be much of a deterrent. Even tried the old hand on hip trick....probably from Arcot Pond (apologies to all Cramlington birders)

I must like him retain a degree of balance. Guess you can tell what sort of day it's been.

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