Colonisation by Wildlife

After the pond’s restoration in 1980, in order to speed up the process of colonisation a few aquatic plants were rescued from a nearby marshland ditch which was about to be dredged, and transplanted to the pond. These included common reed, lesser reedmace, and yellow flag for the pond margin, with frogbit and duckweed for the open water. In addition, osiers were planted on the island and four willows on the eastern bank.
Later a hedge of hawthorn and field maple was planted at the top of the western bank and ‘laid’ after a few years in the traditional manner, to produce a thick screen from the road and also excellent bird nesting habitat.

Although the summer of 1981 was dry, the water which had accumulated in the late winter held up well and most of the plants became well established, except for the willows which did not take to the relatively dry conditions of the bank, and had to be replaced. They are now flourishing well-established trees which have to be cut back from time to time.

Colonisation by nature was also very successful and by the end of the second summer, a sample of water contained a wealth of wildlife including water boatmen, pond snails and damselfly larvae as well as sticklebacks. By the spring of 1983 frogs were seen taking to the water to spawn – a sight that is becoming all too rare in today’s polluted and over-tidy countryside. Frogs continue to spawn in the pond but numbers have been low in 2020 and 2021.

Last summer (2021), a heron took up residence for several days, standing on the island and looking for fish, of which there are many types. This year a mallard produced a brood of ducklings of which 6 survived. At one time in the late summer there were 20 or more ducks (male and female) on the pond. Other visiting birds have included a grey wagtail, black-headed gull and swallow, and moorhens have adopted the pond, which is an encouraging sign as these are normally very shy birds.

Pipistrelle bats are worth watching out for on warm summer evenings as they swoop over the water snapping up insects. They are probably breeding in the roof spaces of nearby houses where they should be left in peace, as they are quite harmless to man and perform a useful function as insect predators. Sadly the numbers of these interesting mammals have decreased drastically over the last few years.

Frogs and frogspawn in the pond
Ducklings, 2021
Moorhen chicks
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