You don’t really need a garden to relax by a pond like the Oriental short-clawed otters in the photo below. However with all the heavy rainfall we have had recently the idea of sitting at the water's edge on a summer’s day watching the wildlife that visits seems a distant one.
Looking back to July 22nd and I can remember one such day. We were on holiday in Norfollk and had visited Pensthorpe Nature Reserve. It was a very warm sunny day and the butterflies were out in force - so out came my camera! However, as with my own garden, it is always an enormous treat to capture images I wasn’t looking for.
My eyes scanned the reeds and grasses and once I tuned in to them I couldn’t believe what I was seeing. What a beautiful sight as the damselflies and dragonflies almost danced from stem to stem. I had never seen them before or probably what I should say is that I’ve never noticed them. My photos aren’t too sharp as they were so quick and slim but I thought I would share them anyway. They certainly capture that moment for me.
As my family sat on a bench one blue damselfly landed on the ground at the feet of my husband. I quickly passed the camera to him and he captured the photo above. It looked so out of place on the ground! I returned with the camera to the water’s edge again and some movement caught my eye again. This time it was at my feet. Below the delicate dancing insects sat a toad – I wonder how many more were in this area. I have to say that with every post like this I am becoming more and more fascinated with wildlife.
So what is this last photo about? Well, it was taken last night, with my roving night cam, at the edge of my tiny pond. What was I hoping to catch sight of? Ah… we have a toad around our tiny pond! Two nights ago when I went out after midnight to feed our guinea pigs I spotted it in the water on one of the wood poles I put in to help wildlife out. I wonder if it is using any of the rock caves I built below the surface and around the edge.
Okay, a toad is perhaps a pretty ordinary sighting but I found it there when I replaced the original liner a few years ago. I got the fright of my life when I scooped it up in my bucket as I emptied the water. I am wondering if this is the same one – it looks bigger now. We so seldom see it and I did build the caves to encourage it to stay.
We've had very heavy downpours of rain in the evenings so I am wondering if this has any bearing on my sighting. I am also wondering if the hedgehogs may not be around as much on nights like this as I haven’t seen them visit in the evenings recently. I am guessing they are still visiting in the early hours of the morning as the food is being taken from my feeding station.
This toad sighting got me thinking. Have you ever wondered what visits your garden, park or village ponds at this time of year? What about rock pools at the beach? If so, I wonder if you would like to share with us what you see.
If you have a blog you might like to join me with a posting – even just a photo of what you see. If you don’t have a blog maybe you would like to list what you see. Just leave a comment so others can see/read about your sightings. I thought I’d suggest a time period rather than a day for a change so there is no rush. I am hoping that in that time I might just catch something interesting around our pond – either during the day or in the evening. This could be fun – I hope you can join me!
Finally, it really doesn’t matter what size your pond is. If you have large wildlife ponds it would be wonderful to see what wildlife visitors you have. However, if like me, you have a tiny pond it can still provide a home for wildlife like my toad. You can see that in summer my pond is quite shaded and I have such wonderful moss growing on the rocks there now.
You can see how small my pond is in the photos above. I put a garden fork across it to give you an instant guide to scale. I also got the tape measure out. It is approximately 33cm deep (just over 1ft) and the surface water visible measures 1 metre (just over 3ft) long by 50cm (just over 1½ft). You can see how my pond started back in April 2003 with the liner. After leaks I replaced this with kidney shaped moulded plastic one. I then had a stronger surface to play with rocks making hidden pools and caves. I have a small pump.
The photo of the otters was taken at Edinburgh Zoo on August 11th 2008. The photo montages from Pensthorpe were taken July 22nd 2008. The night cam shot of my pond was taken on August 21st 2008.