Thursday, August 27, 2009

Pond progress


So, we've had the pond since the end of June 2008. Here's a little review of the first 14 months.

A lot of things have turned up because of the pond.

Damselflies and dragonflies
  • Banded Demoiselle (well, it flew through the garden)
  • Large Red Damselfly*
  • Red-eyed Damselfly
  • Azure Damselfly*
  • Common Blue Damselfly*
  • Blue-tailed Damselfly*
  • Southern Hawker*
  • Migrant Hawker
  • Emperor
  • Four-spotted Chaser*
  • Broad-bodied Chaser*
  • Black-tailed Skimmer (on the spoil heap before the pond had any water in it!)
  • Common Darter*
  • Ruddy Darter
* have laid eggs

other creatures
  • Water Boatman
  • Backswimmer
  • Pondskater
  • Caddis thing that lives in a rolled-up bit of vegetation
  • Lesser Diving Beetle
  • assorted other, smaller beetles
  • some funky midge larvae
  • oh yeah, Great Crested Newt
  • Smooth Newt
  • Common Frog
I managed to blag pond plants from other friendly pond people. Water Mint, Water Forget-me-Not, Flowering Rush, Water Lily, Marsh Marigold, Yellow Flag and Water Soldier have all been especially successful. In fact, the Soldiers have been a bit too successful. Two were donated last year; they had produced about a dozen plants by this summer! I had to cull a few.

The newts laid eggs on submerged bits of Water Mint and neatly folded up the leaves to protect them (the Great Crested Newts have been officially recorded which will mean that their needs will be taken into account in future). Something else lives inside two oval pieces of Water Lily leaf that it chomps out and makes a little sleeping bag out of.

I left long grass around the pond so that creatures have somewhere to hide - without fear of being mown - and dragonflies and damselflies have somewhere to perch after they've emerged (this spring has seen our first homegrown Common Darters and damselflies). Also, mowing around the edge would be tricky. However, I've trimmed the grass on one edge so I can get a better view from the house. I did it very carefully, with scissors, because using shears would've meant the trimmings fell in... That's how dedicated I am.

A small selection of birds have used the pond for bathing and drinking: mainly Greenfinches and Goldfinches, but also Yellow Wagtails this spring. The Swallows seem to like flying over it to catch insects. A Grey Heron came to have a look but I scared it away, fearing for the newts' lives...

In essence, it's been great fun and I'd recommend digging a wildlife pond to anyone.

photo taken with Canon Powershot A640