A new ‘visitor’ down at the pond…

After a spate of heavy rain and bad weather, this week we have welcomed a new visitor to the Park! Standing tall, he’s a fisherman that even gives our own ‘Pond Pete’ a run for his money and is therefore his nemesis… the Cormorant.

Though these majestic birds are quite beautiful to look at, they can be very destructive for our thriving inland ponds. Unperturbed by humans, a Cormorant needs to eat its bodyweight in fish every day and, for a bird that averages a weight up to 2.5kg and a wingspan of between 60cm and 100cm, that’s quite a lot of our fish.

Fortunately, due to Kelling Heath’s successful pond management, the waters are teeming with life, as shown by our Crucian Carp survey by the University College London at the start of the year. However, these almost reptilian looking birds can decimate fish populations in a matter of days. So though we enjoy seeing a variety of life here on Park, we do have to encourage this large waterbird to move on to our nearby coastline. As a protected species this can be a very difficult thing to do and can take a huge amount of dedication and strategy. Pete relies on his small boat, chasing the bird off as it swoops down to fish and generally trying to make it as unappealing as possible to stay at the pond. Once it becomes tired, it can then be safely caught and released in its proper coastline habitat near Cley. As I’m sure you can imagine, this is far more difficult than it sounds!

In the meantime, we have unfortunately had to cancel some of our Family Fishing sessions for the next few weeks. Though this can be disappointing for both our guests and Pete, nature will insist on doing its own thing and we are unable to predict how long it will take to rid the pond of this supreme predator.