Frost In The shadows
Posted: 10th Dec 2013
The final Oak leaves are falling this week signalling that the depth of Winter is truly upon us now, combined with the cold clear skies the colours can only be described as beautiful in their own right. It's a quiet time of year with the lakes being void of anglers, but the Wildlife too is either in a deep slumber or having migrated to warmer pastures for the Winter period. Apart from the abudance of White Egrets cashing in on the lake draindown bounty, it is eerily quiet down there. Most of the nuts that have fallen this Autumn have been scavenged by the Red Squirrels, Jays & Rooks and it will be the second part of Winter that puts most of the animals through "their paces" when the cold Easterly winds and snow fall make finding food difficult. Only this morning while grading the fish stocks that have come out of the 15 acre lake and into the Stockponds that I noticed that unmistakable Colbalt flash of Blue on the pond surface. On close inspection I could see it was one of our regular Kingfishers floating face down. This was the first time I had the privilege to see one up so close and even though I wished it was in different circumstances, I could not help but marvel at his stunning plumage. I cannot think of a more vivid coloured British bird, almost as if mother nature has gone crazy with the paintbrush. He was immaculate, and all I can think was he broke his neck on a sheet of floating ice while taking a dive for the Roach fry that can be seen underneath.
The stockponds are crystal clear at the moment so the small Carp can be seen swimming in huge shoals which is fantastic to watch. The large fish were all returned to the completed backbay, but the 1+2 summer bred fish along with the Grassies are being graded over the next few days. I will keep around 30 of the best small ones to grow-on and the rest will go, likewise with the Grassies only keeping around 100 for the larger lake and the other 150 will be sold. The Grass carp is a stunning looking fish whether you love or hate them, being the perfect natural solution for controlling the weed. They are also bullet proof, coping with high water temps, low oxygen and I have not lost one since we opened the doors, combined with 10lb+ per year growth rates they are an added bonus fish combined with the rest of the carp. Half a Ton of Roach removed and a good 100 kg of Tench will be a few less mouths to feed, it's then a case of sorting the Predator stock which is always exciting. I will get chance to take a few pictures over the coming weeks with having another set of hands to helps with the photography, while I'm down in the pit making sure that lead line is kept low and shouting out orders in my stressed manner!!!
Once all the lake drain downs are complete I will tidy the paths with extra gravel and give the lake margin trees a good prune, so once again you can view the lake while sat down with a cold beer and BBQ looking out from the wooden hut.
In the evenings I have been getting time for my Artwork once again and I'm just in the process of completing a large Sparrowhawk piece in Graphite pencil. It is one of my favorite British Birds and never ceases to take my breath away as one comes hurtling down the lake path hunting the Songbirds. I'm then onto a large commission of an underwater Carp scene over the festive period, and onto two large projects for 2014, both very exciting. If you're interested in contacting about any future pieces for sale or a commission piece, please feel feel to drop me an email. I have not updated the site shop for a good 12 months I'm afraid, so all this years work is either sold or ready to be framed in the New Year.
Also remember the new clothing is now in stock to purchase for Christmas, the P&P is free if you purchase a Hoodie & T-Shirt together, I should be able to make the Christmas post if ordered in the next week!!
Back soon with a few tasty pictures, all the Best to Old & New punters and Have a Great Christmas and a Happy New Year from the Sanctuary Team.