We keep a daily “diary:” annals of the weather, and a record of the birds and creatures visiting our yard, (and vicinity). 2021 is proving to be an even more “noteworthy” than the exceptional 2020!

The following series of posts, in no particular temporal order, highlight some of these events, visitations, notations, and observations.

Becoming proud koi “grandparents”

We assumed responsibility for the upkeep of a small koi pond on the property several years ago: feeding the fish; cleaning the pond’s filtration system; fixing or replacing the waterfall pump and “bubblators;” burying the dead; rescuing small birds from underneath the pond netting and so on.

In May, for the second time in 15 years, a great blue heron landed in the yard intent on fishing. The first time, there was no netting, and the bird waded right in the pool. Several of the koi are now rather large, and would make a good meal for herons, cats, and raccoons, all of whom have expressed an interest. One night, my husband had to rescue a young racoon who had gotten under the netting, but couldn’t get back out. Luckily, so far, we have only lost one or two fish to predators. Old age and disease are the usual cause of death.

In 2019, we discovered that the fish were spawning. Spawning koi have “mating” routines, and in their fertilizing frenzy, leave the pond water frothy like soap bubbles. However, the pond didn’t have the requisite elements to become a fish hatchery.

This spring, we added water lettuce and water hyacinth to help filter the water, and provide “shade” for the pond denizens. At some point after a frothy incident (spawning) we saw two very small fish – our first “grandchildren”! Koi will eat their young (sorry if this is jarring) and these two tiny fish disappeared for that or any number of another reasons.

There were two frothy incidents after we added vegetation. Then last week we saw a baby koi – probably big enough not to get eaten, then another, and another, and. Well, right now there are 4 baby koi (proud parents: 6 males, 1 female – we can’t sex koi, just guessing based on watching pre-spawn behaviour). The eggs could “cling” to the vegetation roots, and provide shelter for the hatched “fishlings.” Two are quite dark; one has yellow splotches, and Darty, the smallest, is mostly light. Never thought we would be watching the antics of baby koi who are already starting to mimic the behaviour of their parents. We are, of course, the doting grandparents.

The images were taken several years ago when there were more koi in the pond. As of this spring, there were 7 koi left.