The Heron is Back

We’ve been watching and waiting. The fish glint flashes of orange. The pond might as well be a neon sign that lights up with a big arrow and the words, DINER: Good Eats Here.



As expected, a Great Blue Heron came by this week. I don’t know it it’s on it’s way further north, or if it’s planning to spend the summer in Carlisle. It’s a huge bird.

close up


It’s a stealthy, quiet, patient, lethal hunter of fish and amphibians. Standing up to it’s knobby knees in water, it has an elegant grace. But, on land it is ungainly, and it takes ages for it to lift off into flight. The Great Blue Heron needs to be wary of  predators, especially of fast dogs.

Take a close look at this next photograph. The Heron spooked when I opened the door to let Lily out, (as I knew it would, I always give the bird a head start) but it was not so worried that it didn’t land inside of the goat pasture to see what would happen next. As I said, these herons are huge – it’s taller than the goat fence!



Lily did her job. The little dog helped. Scooter didn’t know why he was running, but he put his hackles up and took off, too. I think that Scooter felt like a superhero.

Scooter too


Lily can turn on the speed. Here, she is directly under the Great Blue Heron.

the chase


The bird landed not far away in a tree. Lily watched. The bird watched Lily. (Scooter sprawled out in the sun.) Eventually the heron took off. There are plenty of wild wetlands in Carlisle. There’s no need for me to feed it.


The Beast is now eleven. With Lily’s help, she’ll live another year.


  1. A chihuahua can be fast if they want to be and run after everything, for Luna her greatest nemesis are people on bicycles.

    • A few koi in very carefully taken care of ponds can live that long. More typically think of them as having the lifespan of humans – but dangers abound.

  2. The Heron that preys on our tiny goldfish, has not made an appearance yet this Spring. When you say they are huge, it does not seem to do them justice, especially when paired with a small pond in an urban sized backyard. The Heron looks absolutely ridiculous as he awkwardly and loudly alights onto the side of the pond to patiently wait for his tasty snacks to show themselves. Over the years he has managed to time his arrivals many times when Kitty and I are otherwise occupied. Our fish never get a chance to grow as big and impressive as our original ones did before discovered by the pre-historic looking monster from above. We don`t cover our pond with netting as we enjoy admiring it in a more natural looking state and are willing although begrudgingly to let nature take it`s course. Somewhat…….Kitty is a willing bird chaser too when given a chance!

  3. You go Lily, what a great protector. That heron sure knows the ropes.

  4. I pity the heron that tries to gain altitude with The Beast in its beak.

  5. The pond pictures are always a favorite of mine. It’s so peaceful and tranquil. The pond would never look like that if it were in my yard. Either the kids would swim in it or ,more likely, would be fishing for the Beast. The Beast looks like a big fish in your pictures. Is she too big for the Heron to take or just the right size. Looks like the Heron wouldn’t need to eat for a week after a meal of the Beast. Even Scooter is celebrating Spring. One thing about it, Lily loves the chase. Good girl, Lily.

  6. Go Scooter Go!!!!! I just love that dog.

    It reminds me of my Skip (rat terrier mix) and my Lulu (Boston). Lulu is the real predator in the household, Skip is, well, a wanna be.
    Skip is fast as greased lightning he is the one that puts the fear of death in the local rabbit, squirrel and groundhog population but Lulu is the one that does the deed.
    I have seen on more than one occasion in which Skip is literally nose to tail to a varmitt gets it corned and then backs up (never even attempts to bite) and Lulu literally charges in for the kill absolutely no hesitation regardless of the quarry. I’ve seen her dispatch groundhogs that are greater than her 20 pounds.
    And nothing I do prevents her from doing it, one track mind once she gets a hold of something she doesn’t stop until it stops fighting back.

  7. I guess I should add that Lulu is the perfect lady around my chickens and ducks. All it took was a little training and she knew they were off limits.

  8. Good dog Lilly doing her job as always but that photo of super hero Scooter just cracks me up. He is so up for it. What a pair of heroes those two are. What a great action photo.

  9. Great photos. Is that the new camera?

    Our two neighbors with ponds have lost almost all their lovely koi to a blue heron (they don’t have mighty, superhero dogs). One gave up and turned his pond into a flower garden, the other has a few baby fish that the heron missed and the new renters have an enthusiastic black lab, very watchful. So far, so good.

  10. I have one really large 15 year old goldfish that was the only survivor of the Great Heron banquet of ’04. After that I added a long fish shelter/cave at the bottom of the pond that has helped all the goldfish added since then survive herons, raccoons, and snakes.

    • The big rock in the center of my pond is a shallow cave. Like yours, it helps to protect the fish. Also, the pond is deep in the center – too deep for a heron to stand.

      • Terry have you thought of adding a second cave, since the Beast is your largest fish and I doubt she lets the others in.

        • The Beast does not have territory. She’s fine with the other fish following her around and joining her under the rock.

  11. I just had a photo flash in my mind, Scooter with a Super Hero Cape on! Great photos and as always, love your narration! Way to go Lily dog!

  12. Sounds like the Halloween Costume ideas are starting……maybe it is The Scooter & Lily show this coming October!