The cormorants have been particularly persistent this winter. They’ve been hanging around a lot of the time, despite a robust policy of regular scarings-off with waving arms, a barking dog and generally sudden noises and movements. Carp lake owners as a rule aren’t keen on having cormorants doing their winter fishing on their waters. A specimen carp is worth several thousand euros so you don’t want to see one of those damaged or made a meal of.


Cormorants at Alder lake

Cormorants are a protected species so it could well be that their numbers are increasing and that’s why we’ve had more around this year, or it could be the fact that for the first time since we’ve lived here, the big lake hasn’t frozen over. A good freeze has always seen them off in the past.

We decided to upgrade our anti-cormorant defences. We decided to put string across the lake – blue baling twine of course – and add some CDs to make the string visible and, hopefully, also scarier.

I got to work in the bright sunshine the other day. I scrounged as much baling twine as I could find and knotted the lengths of it together, adding a CD about five metres or so.

The cats thought it was a wonderful cat toy! The pesky brilliant sunshine meant most of my photos didn’t come out (my camera couldn’t cope after such a gloomy winter) so I’ve only got this one of Treacle resting between action shots. All the cats were ‘helping’ me at some point.

corms treacle string

I carefully coiled the fruits of my labour and put them into a bag, then  Chris and I went down to the lake and got into the boat.

corms in bag

We found a good starting point, I tied one end of my patent pending cormorant deterring device onto a tree, and Chris begin to row across the lake. And the string got tangled. Irretrievably. What is it with string that it can’t bear not to be tangled? You can leave a piece lying in a straight line and five minutes later you’ll come back and find it’s wound itself up into an unsortable mess.

corms tangle

We tried to untangle it but to no avail so withdrew temporarily defeated. And anyway it looks like we’ll get a temporary freeze now, plus it’s probably time for the cormorants to migrate back out to sea  for the warmer months, so let’s hope we won’t need to devise even more cunning contraptions to protect our carp.