Archive for June, 2014

June 28, 2014

Build a pond and the wildlife will come

11 June 2016

We had our patio widened last December, and as part of the work, had a small pond installed, to replace the old pre-formed one we were taking out. The old pond rarely had much in it, as it was too shaded.

We added water and plants, and six months later, it’s amazing what wildlife has moved in:

Froglet clinging to edge of stone, with pond snail to one side, at least five times bigger than the frog

Froglet next to pond snail. The snail was quite big, but new frogs are really tiny

Small creature with a long tail and fins

Unknown creature – if you can tell me what it is, I’d be most grateful

Damselfy clinging to a plant stem

Damselfy. We think this had just emerged from the pond.

Dragonfly or Damselfly larva.

Dragonfly or Damselfly larva.

We also regularly see birds and our cats drinking from the pond (though not at the same time!) It’s a source of endless fascination for us – I’d highly recommend putting in a water feature of some size, however small your garden.



June 8, 2014

Robins don’t make it but dragonfly emerges

8 June 2014

I forgot to say in the last entry – sadly our Robin chicks didn’t make it. When we became suspicious and investigated, there were only two chicks left in the nest, one of which was very under-size, and both were dead. We think the most likely cause is the heat in the greenhouse, which can be intense early in the day. Luckily, the parents don’t seem to be thinking of re-building in the same place.

Nature is prolific, though, and in compensation, we’ve had a Broad-bodied Chaser female emerge from the pond. She’s the only one we’ve been aware of, but there may have been others: there were several larvae in there last year that I think were this species.

Female Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly clinging to reed

Female Broad-bodied Chaser dragonfly

There are still several big, but slimmer, dragonfly larvae in the pond, which I’m guessing are Southern Hawkers; in the past we’ve seen this species emerging around the end of May, so we’re keeping a very good eye on the pond. Our new pond has a few tadpoles which we moved from the old pond to keep them safe from the newts, and they are doing well, starting to grow their back legs. It’s fascinating to see what else is turning up by itself – all sorts of small water creatures.

The other thing that has especially pleased me is seeing a female Brimstone butterfly investigating the buckthorn bush I planted as food for Brimstone caterpillars. I can’t see any eggs, though a lot would be too high to see, so I’m waiting to observe whether any damage to the leaves becomes obvious so I can see if there are caterpillars present; I’ve had one pointed out to me in the past, and their camouflage is so good, it still took me ages to actually spot it.