25 June 2013


I have been spending a lot of time by the pond lately.  It's a lovely place to read.  And every day I feed the fish.  The vast majority are nondescript minnows.  And there are a lot of sunfish that we caught and moved to the pond because who doesn't love bluegills and sunnies?

And then there is Gloria.  Gloria is a Grass Carp.  (This is not a picture of Gloria, but this is what she looks like.)

Grass Carp are sweet vegetarians who eat the weeds (but not cattails) in ponds.  In NY you have to apply for a Grass Carp permit -- based on the size of our pond we were approved for 2 carp.  So two years ago we had 2 carp put in the pond -- at the time they were maybe 10 inches long, and I did not give them names.  They were delivered in May and we didn't see either again that summer, but we did see the weeds start to disappear.  Last year I started feeding the fish in late May and I did not see any Grass Carp.  Finally in June I saw a much larger fish than we had put in the year before.  She would come to eat the veggie pellets I feed the other fish.  For a couple of months we assumed that both carp were still in the pond, but by the end of the summer we were certain only one had survived.  The other carp probably succumbed to The Beast when he ruled the pond, or maybe a Kingfisher or Great Blue Heron -- he likely met his fate soon after coming to live in the pond when he was relatively small.

So this year when I started feeding the fish I worried when I didn't see any carp for a couple of weeks.  But then she suddenly appeared, gliding along just under the surface of the pond, with her mouth open to scoop up the floating pellets.  She is now about 3 feet long and so pretty when her green and gold scales catch the sun.  Grass Carp can grow to 5 feet. Yikes!  That will be like having a small adult swimming in the pond.  Because she has now survived 2 years and she has grown to a size that will be far too intimidating for turtles or birds, I have named her.  Gloria, for Gloria 'I Will Survive' Gaynor.  (This is a picture of Gloria which does not do her justice, but it is really hard to photograph a fish.)

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