April 2018

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16th April

 

To you, this may look like nothing more than an old sink sunk in mud, full of dirty water with a bit of old wooden plank stuck in it - but to us, it's the Mark 1 Pond at Beckside!

 

Yes, after years of wanting one, I finally have a (sort of) pond of my own, complete with inhabitants. The worst thing for me about quitting our big school maintenance contract (see entry for March 27th) was leaving behind the pond-life in the wildlife area Hubcap had created, and worrying about how the next contractors would look after it... so we decided to take some creatures with us and give them a new home at Beckside. The pond's initial population consisted of 5 adult newts, 2 juveniles, a number of water-lice and some tiny bi-valves. Unfortunately we couldn't simply tip them all, plus their pond-water teeming with Daphnia (water-fleas) and microscopic organisms, straight into the sink, because of its contamination with duckweed and silk-weed - nuisance plants which spread very rapidly and can completely choke a pond.

Instead we put them into fresh rainwater and dropped in a few small worms for them to eat, then a couple of days later added some pond-weed, Daphnia and a couple of water-snails from my father-in-law's nice clean pond on his allotment. We also plan to put in some stones and gravel from the beck, plus one of the big freshwater mussels to filter the water - but after the huge amount of rain and snow we've had recently, it's fuller than we've seen it for years (as you can see in the picture below) and flowing too fast for Hubcap to gather anything! So at the moment the pond looks very raw and artificial; but now Spring finally seems to have sprung, the grass will soon grow up to mask those white edges, and hopefully when we've added the other inhabitants it'll establish a good healthy eco-system. This will be the foundation for our Mark 2 pond at some time in the future - the cane Hubcap's pointing to in the picture below indicates a natural dew-pond area close to the beck, which is where we plan to install a much bigger pond in due course - and in the other pic, he's preparing the ground to sow with a woodland-mix grass seed. So despite the frustrations and delays because of the dismal wet weather, things are finally starting to look something like at our beloved Beckside - I just hope the new amphibian population will enjoy it enough to stay and thrive!

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