Pike in the old cress bed ponds

I’m painting ‘en plein air’ at some local ponds. See here. They used to be cress beds fed by an upstream spring, then abandoned to the wildlife for years, then stocked with fish for a time. Between brushstrokes and showers I’ve been looking into the thirteen ponds with binoculars to cut through the glare to see what i can see. In most there are schools of Orfe (Ide), and one pond in particular also have a few Crucian Carp, Tench and Pike.

Sketches of Pike in the very weedy ‘pond number 12’

The Pike are various sizes from tiny youngsters (used to be called ‘Jacks’) up to about fifteen inches or so. There may be some larger, of course. Camouflaged with pale irregular bands on the body that concentrate towards the rear. This cleverly imitates the rippling sunlight through the water. They hang motionless at a slight angle in open water in the sun looking like a dead stick. Once you get your eye in, they are easier to spot. The binos help enormously of course. The ponds themselves have different characteristics, such as very weedy, very silted up and so on. The fish don’t seem to mind.

This swan family have chosen a very weedy pond to hang out.