When I moved into my house the pond was already there and home to several gold fish. It was August and the summer had been a dry one so the water was very low. I hadn't had a pond before and in my ignorance I filled it up using a hose and tap water. The next day there were half a dozen dead fish floating on the surface. All part of the learning curve I suppose. I decided that fish were not for me so did not replace them.
Over the years it was home to lots of tadpoles and I used to notice birds drinking from it but never really studied it much. Once the children had all left home I took more interest in it and noticed damselflies hovering round it. In spring there would be up 20 frogs mating in it and masses of frogspawn.
Frogs in pond during February
At the end of 2010 I noticed the water getting very low in spite of having a hose from my water butt running into it to top it up (no more tap water). I asked the gardener if he could reline it for me. And he agreed to do the job in winter when he didn't have much other work. Before he started I asked him to save as much of what water there was in it, in the hope of saving some minute pond life to restock it with once it was done. I had buckets and bowls full standing on the patio with a few plants and lots of wriggly creatures including insect larvae in it. I found a newt while the work was being done on the pond, he must have been waiting for his new home.
Newt found when the pond was being emptied
It was a big job digging out all the soil that had accumulated in it over the years and when he had finished it was about 3 times bigger than it had originally looked. Not only deeper but in surface area too. It was so big that I did resort to filling in from the tap but did not add my reserved pond water and creatures straight away. After a couple of weeks the water turned very green, which was algae growing in the nutrient rich tap water. From the Internet I discovered the way to get rid of this is to add Barley Straw Extract which I bought from the garden centre. It needed two treatments to clear the water. I then added my saved water and also half a dozen pond snails and a few plants bought from the garden centre.
Newly lined and filled pond in February 2011
It didn't take long for the frogs to return and there was frogspawn in the pond by the end of the month. By June the pond was looking much better with the spring flowers in full bloom.
In July of this year my grandson Stuart and I spotted lots of little froglets leaving the pond. I had been pulling some of the pond weed out as it spreads so fast. I left it on the side of the pond so that any pond creatures in it could find their way back into the pond before I composted it. The froglets were using it to climb up to leave the pond. They are only just over 1 cm in length.
The pond is my favourite part of the garden. It attracts so much wildlife and I don't miss a day visiting it to see what is there. I always take the grandchildren to see it when they are here and we often do pond dips to see what we can find. All you need is a fishing net and a tray, preferably white, to put your catch in. It is easier to see what you have caught if you use a white tray. You must always be careful that children are not left unattended near a pond and mine never go in the garden alone. I like to think they are learning from these activities and hope they will develop an interest in the wildlife too.
Pond dip with a catch of a tadpole, snail and several different insect larvae
Eft which is a young newt caught by my granddaughter Jasmine
The most recent arrival at the pond is the Southern Hawker Dragonfly. I first saw one laying eggs in the moss on one of the rocks in the summer of 2012.
Southern Hawker Dragonfly
Last summer I found the empty larval cases of the nymphs of the Southern Hawker. They climb up the marginal plants to get out of the pond and leave their pupal case on the plant. I wasn't fortunate to see one emerging though.
Empty pupal case of dragonfly larva
I have seen 2 different damsel flies mating on the plants around the pond and depositing their eggs in it.
Common Blue damselflies mating
Male large red damselfly
Female large red damselfly
I have also seen toads in the garden but have not seen any spawn from them but I presume they use the pond. This one had been hiding behind my greenhouse.
I hope you enjoyed the pictures of the wildlife in my pond. It does have a waterfall and fountain but the tadpoles used to be sucked up by the pump so it has rarely been used.