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The Complicated Life

The event of the weekend, at least in ornithological terms, was the marvellous sight of a kingfisher in our back garden.  These birds are rarely seen away from rivers or streams, where they are usually glimpsed as nothing but an airborne flash of turquoise.  But there it was, vivid blue and orange plumage glinting in the sunlight, perched on the bridge over the shallow end of the garden pond.  It has come back this morning.

Wonderful.

But wait a moment.  Beautiful sight it may be but the damn thing is in our garden for one reason only: to eat our fish.  Sure enough, even as we are admiring the bird from our kitchen window, it dives into the water and emerges with a goldfish, which twitches helpless as the kingfisher bobbles it about before gulping it down whole.

So, we now face a dilemma.  Do we allow the kingfisher to visit and do what kingfishers do or do we protect the fish and shoo it away, perhaps never to see it again?    

Meanwhile, at the deep end of the pond, Harry, our neighbourhood heron has been flying in and out for the same purpose as its tiny feathered cousin.  And then there is our resident grass snake, which may or may not be attracted to the water by the prospect of snatching an occasional scaly morsel. 

Our little oasis of water is becoming a predator’s paradise – nature rampant, red in tooth and claw, or in our case, beak and claw.

I care nothing for the fish, but if we give herons and kingfishers free rein, there would soon be none left and then the visitors would stop coming.

How complicated life can be sometimes.

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