Sunday, 10 May 2009

Straw's Bridge

A short walk this morning down to Straw's Bridge. This very popular, small lake on the edge of Shipley Park was formed from an old open-cast coal mine. Known locally as Swan Lake, it is a favourite feeding post for Mute Swans, Canada Geese, Mallards, Tufted Ducks, Black-Headed Gulls, an occasional Pochard, Great Crested Grebe and many more.

More surprising than the waterfowl is the sight, when the light is right and the water surface is calm enough, of some enormous Koi swimming around the shallows at the edge of the lake.

These two individuals hoved into view this morning just below the surface and caused quite a lot of interest among those who were there to feed the ducks.

It's impossible to judge the size of these fish from the pictures, but the larger of the two pictured here had to be about 2ft long (no kidding - this is no fisherman's tale about the 'one that got away').
Koi (Japanese word for carp) were developed in Japan in the 1820's, bred from common Carp for decorative purposes. They remain popular today in domestic tanks and garden ponds as well as larger ponds and lakes. Where these particular individuals came from is a matter of supposition, but Malcolm and I think they must have been introduced to the lake from someones garden pond.

The small, black specs on the water surface are flies and mosquitoes, perfect fish food! No doubt one of the reasons why the Koi have grown so large.

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