The Beast Knows What To Do

The Beast, my old koi, lives year round in a large water feature with her minions (goldfish and goldfish/koi crosses.) The pond has a pump designed to circulate water in all seasons. Even when the surface freezes, below the ice there’s fresh, oxygenated water for the fish. However, as we head into winter, there are adjustments to make. Koi shouldn’t eat when the water gets too cold because their metabolism slows down and they can’t digest food. If their stomachs are full of food when it’s cold in the pond, they’ll burst from the activity of microbes in their guts. So, when we see frost on the ground, we start to monitor the temperature of the water. When it gets below 50°F we switch to a fall feed. When it gets below 39°F we stop feeding altogether.

pond temp

The Beast continues to swim around the pond, but we’re no longer tossing her fish food.

However, others continue to want to eat in the pond. This time of year we see transient migratory Great Blue Herons.



This one got in as deep as it could.

heron in pond


The Beast knows what to do. Do you see her peering out from her cave? She’s survived for the last dozen years. Savvy fish.

koi hiding


  1. Savvy fish indeed! Haha what on earth was that heron doing in the water like that? Funny :D

    As always, awesome post Terry. I loved the pictures. C:

    • It stands in the water until the fish think its legs are just twigs. You wouldn’t believe how fast it can stab with that long beak!

  2. I know that they are not good for your fishies (Go Beast!), but I love Great Blue Herons. Don’t know why, just do. When I manage to make it to the state park, if there aren’t many people on the lake, I’ll grab a kayak and head for the marshy areas to sit and watch. I’m thrilled when one of these guys comes down to fish.

  3. The daily dramas that take place in nature! For years, I walk my dogs off leash on an old deserted logging road through woods. After a snowfall, I am astounded at the amount of tracks and activity that has taken place over night. A pile of feathers here, half a mouse carcass there, rabbit tracks with an overlay of coyote tracks…eek! It’s always life and death out there, and as I sit in my heated and safe house, I am reminded daily what the little critters go through in nature.

    • Wonderful things to observe. Have you ever taken a tracking class? I’ve attended a few workshops and it’s opened my eyes to things I walked by daily.

      • I haven’t taken a class, although I’ve read up on tracks. But I bet a class would add so much dimension behind what you just observe, such as what behaviors are taking place, not just by which animal, bird or reptile. Hmmm….you’ve given me ideas!

    • This one was a migrant and didn’t know about our resident dog. We put Lily out in the yard for awhile and that kept it away, even as slow as she now is :)

  4. when i was a youngster, i lived on the ‘corner’ o f a creek and the fox river in illinois. every summer for three or four years a blue heron would show up – even young it was a thrill. he lived on a little island and i would watch him do his thing whenever i got the chance. i’ve never seen another since then – and now i live on the shore. of the wisconsin river – should be a perfect place to see one

  5. LOVE the pics and that the Beast can defend herself! How do you know it’s a she? :) I love Herons so much. Here in Illinois, they are everywhere. I see them in low-lying, rather marshy and brackish water – white and blue ones, standing stock still as statues. They have some nests in trees by the river – in the highest branches. The nests are gigantic and it always thrills me when I get a glimpse of the herons on their nests!