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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sat Dec 31, 2016 3:04 am 
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what a nightmare, sounds like a ton of work. we both have a lot of work to do to get our ponds ship shape. i must get them slabs ordered :/

at least you found out what was lurking in the pond. 5 great diving beetles is a good tally. :kp:

hopefully you can get it ready for the frog breeding season. im really looking forward to seeing if any turn up in mine. i'll be disappointed if i dont get any frogspawn as taddies are the basis for the foodchain

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Thu Jan 19, 2017 5:02 pm 
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we managed to complete the mammoth task in just 3 or 4 days, the longest part was refilling the pond via. the river. The rivers lower down than the pond, especially at low tide, so water was a continuous slow trickle. Sorted all the plants and the likes, have nice log piles around the edges, flower beds (or soon to be in spring/summer) and some nice rocks lining it. Will continue to work on it whenever I'm down from Uni.
some pics:


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File comment: couple of diving beetles in a net, and a water boatman in middle, but hard to make out
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File comment: nice shot
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File comment: some plants in ice. when iced over it was very clear, I could watch diving bottles swimming bellow
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File comment: early stage filling of pond
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File comment: putting tarp underlay down, theres old carpets/roll matts underneath that too
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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Feb 06, 2017 4:55 pm 
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hey will. any sign of frogs or toads in your neck of the woods yet. i biked over to a couple of ponds yesterday and no sign of spawn. i go for 12 mile bike ride at night every couple days and not seen any squashed on roads either. i save as many i see but its pretty depressing sometimes (not as depressing as for them though lol).

glad you got your pond fixed. is it quite high up and is that all your garden in the background. it looks huge

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Feb 27, 2017 1:47 pm 
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I definitely know why those 3 great crested newt larvae turned up in my pond last year. A few days ago i went out about 9pm looking for frogs and toads in various ponds and soggy places where i used to find them as a kid,just out of curiosity, to see if they still existed lol. anyway, it was damp and not very cold so a good time to look. Maybe a little early as i only saw a few males and no spawn. There were quite a few squashed on the roads as usual and i rescued a few imminent danger. A heron flew away from one pond, hunting frogs i expect. Heons must have night vision as it was totally dark. But this is the interesting thing. At the pond i collected some pond weed last year i found many great crested newts wandering about on the grass, presumably returning to breed. Must have been 10 or more in one area alone, so maybe hundreds using the pond altogether. There were also some smooth newts returning. Interestingly i found a shallow hole near the pond edge dug up by a dog. At the bottom there was a tiny hole, and i could see with my torch there were many gc newts inside and some just emerged. Must be where they were hibernating. The pond must be a major breeding pond for gc newts. I hope its known and protected and wont be built on. Its a bit neglected, with a ton of rubbish and very disturbed by dogs every day. I also saw emperor dragonflies hawking over the pond last summer. Its nice to know nature is surviving somewhere. There are probably also grass snakes here, but not spotted one yet.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue Feb 28, 2017 10:13 am 
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If you know of a GCN pond you should make sure your Local Records Centre and your local Amphibian and Reptile Group (ARG) know of this so the location is recorded. Having GCN in a pond does not guarantee the site won't be built on but it is a major consideration for the planners.

I took my new head torch out for a test the other night round my local newt ponds, please to see a couple of male GCN on one of them so they are getting to the ponds already.


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Thu Mar 02, 2017 10:11 am 
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i suspect its safe as its a well known and ancient pond, once used by monks of the local abbey to raise carp. the road next to it is even named after it. id feel a bit of an idiot checking tbh, as i cant see how the wildlife groups wouldnt know they were there. i might send an email to the local wildlife charity im a member of anyway. not only newts, there are breeding toads, ducks, snipe, reed buntings etc

if they do decide to build i doubt theres much anyone could do, such is the fervour to fill in any 'waste ground' with housing. havnt the psychos, er i mean the government changed some law recently so developers dont have to consider these newts like they used to. nothing must stand in the way of growth, housing and jobs. shameful.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Mar 15, 2017 1:26 pm 
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my frogspawn (that i collected from a short distance away, by bike) is hatching well. i collected it from a little area not far from my house that floods in winter but dries up before the tadpoles can develop into froglets so im saving it from being killed. hopefully it will get my frog population established. you shouldnt move frogspawn but it was very close so shouldnt do any harm. there are hardly any frogs here anyway. only a couple of frogs came to the pond by themselves, but they were not of breeding age yet. lots of smooth newts in the pond, plus one great crested newt in the pond last night, (a male which looked abit dejected with a poorly formed crest), which i half expected as seen them a couple of times before in the garden.

cycled over to the university to try to find if toads were spawning in any of the big ponds there. it was full moon and thats when they breed. well , it was well timed because they were all over the cycle track near the pond, with many in the pond itself. probably many hundreds in the area are gathering. the pond is clear and i can see the toads underwater with my torch dotted about all around the edge and some swimming about. they just sit still on the bottom of the pond in an alert posture. there is no breeding frenzy. almost all are males, as are the ones on the track. they are probably waiting for the females, which they can see in the moonlight, which is why they start breeding at full moon, presumably. not seen any spawn yet. yesterday i went and saw a few mated pairs of toads walking across the path to the pond. so i guess the males grab the female on land if the can. im wondering if the females have only started moving and what will happen in the pond in the next few nights. could hear some squeeking noises which i think is made if one male tries to grap onto another. the water fowl were also making some weird and creepy noises in the dark lol

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Mar 26, 2017 8:40 pm 
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yeah bugnation is back :)

to celebrate here is a film of the tadpoles in my pond !

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hBdTBCD4KRs&t=12s

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 2:41 pm 
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sounds great agrius! back from uni now, the pond looks great, we've recently bought more oxygenators and some marginals because there's quite a lot of green algae floating about unfortunately. Still doing alright, got pond skaters, whirligigs, newts and a fair few tadpoles. Haven't spotted the diving beetles since I saw them last winter. I wonder if they've moved on, or are still burrowed down in the mud...the tadpoles will probably be relieved if they've gone elsewhere


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:12 pm 
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glad your pond is doing well too. the best way of seeing diving beetles, plus newts and frogs etc is with a torch at night. great diving beetles dont move out of cover into open water during the day due to predation. at night they swim about quite a lot.

i was watching the tadpoles today. they love the sun and really get active when its starts shining. much bigger now, they have colonised the whole pond and much more spread out. newts and dragonfly larvae are predating them a lot. was watching one swim over the bottom and it got nabbed by a dragonfly larvae hidden in the mud. watch some good newt mating activity the other evening. a female surrounded by about 5 males. but she just followed this one male. you could see him deposit the sperm with a little shudder, then she walked over it and picked it up. it was very quick. the other males were bumping them, but could not break their routine, she was totally fixed on the one male. i didnt film it but i captured the general newt frenzy. there must have been over 20 newts milling about. they were smooth newts. also i found some great crested newts eggs in my pond. i think they are anyway. its illegal to keep them apparently but its my pond so what the hell. 4 hatched and growing well.

smooth newts going a bit mad.

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7WvL8g0miBA

a possible great crested newt baby from my pond. its only about a week old but grown to about twice the size even though they not feeding. not sure how to feed them as they are so small so i'll probably put them in the pond to take their chance with the monsters


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 9:53 pm 
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That sounds amazing, great stuff. There's a pond at the side of a cycle paths not far from me, gunna head over to it and have a gander shortly, see if I can grab any plants or whatnot. Great crested newts are a cheeky find, never seen one myself


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Apr 03, 2017 11:03 pm 
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thats a good idea. you will introduce some interesting bugs with the plants too. ive been trying to find water scorpions with no luck so far. used to find them as a kid down the park. GC newts are not that rare going by the distribution map. there is probably a pond near you with them. they like ponds with clean water, with no fish (which eat the larvae), and with lots of vegetation to lay eggs on. there is a pond near me on a playing field that's literally teaming with them . but like everything you have to know how and when to look for them. the males look amazing when in breeding condition but the smooth newt is probably more pretty. the gc are about twice as big. the smooth newts are really taking over my pond atm. where they are all coming from ive no idea.

there's a big patch of water moss growing in the middle of the pond and i think they hide in it during the day, and feel nice and safe. frogs seem to like it a lot too as nothing can get them there. i just counted about 10 frogs poking their heads out. a few new smaller ones are turning up suddenly over last few days. i think they must be last years babies dispersing out from where they were born. im finding things all the time.

btw, if you want clear water put barley straw in. it definitely does work. you don't need much and its good for the pond anyway. i read somewhere it makes hydrogen peroxide or something which stops single cell algal growth. might take a while to kick in but suddenly the water clears, like in a few days. my pond has been crystal clear since it cleared last year :)

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue Apr 04, 2017 11:54 pm 
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So exciting times! Went out with torch this night with my bro and had a look at the pond. Tons of newts, watched two diving beetles swim about, so they're still there, saw 4 tadpoles - rescued and will raise them out of the dangerous pond enviro lol - and then the crowning moment; a diving beetle larvae! About 5cm. Thought it was a newt at first, it swam up to the surface, just managed to grab it with the net. Pictures aren't great Cus it was swimming quite fast in its tub but still, v chuffed, means the diving beetles have been breeding.
Also went out to nearby pond places, first one had nothing in, too much construction work nearbye I think, just lots of red clay mud and reeds. But other place I went was like flood land pools, coming off a stream. The ones with little/no water flow had tons of small demoiselle fly larvae, lesser water boatmen and I found a chaser/skimmer nymph too. Took a few nymphs back to the pond. Couldn't find any good oxygenator plants to top the pond up with tho, unfortunately


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File comment: As I said, awful quality photo, it was doing laps of the pot, but here it's in the classic position
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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 10:22 am 
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Update: found (probably) the same big larvae when clearing out algae and also found a much smaller diving beetle larvae. Managed to get slightly better photos of both this time


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 05, 2017 11:56 am 
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Wow. I didnt realize they were around this early. I think you have 2 species of larvae there. One is definitely a great diving beetle larvae. The smaller one isn't. Young great diving beetle larvae have the same shape as bigger ones with that big triangular head and jaws and feathery bits on the tail end. There sems to be only one gd beetle in my pond, a female. I found one small larve the other night, eating a tadpole so hopefully i'll see some big ones soon. Theres smaller beetles about half the size, and brown that are a much better swimmer. They really rocket through the water and appears to attack little things from a distance by sight. Its a cool little critter to watch. Theres other brown ones the same size that are a poorer swimmer, and small black ones that were very common last year but they seem to have died off.

You probably found a broad bodied chaser nymph. Is it a short, fat, ugly little bug that hides in the mud. Those ones are decimating my tadpoles lol. I dont mind as its all part of the food chain and theres poenty to go round. I like to see dragonfles as much as frogs, and its not as if the nymphs dont have predators too. Ive seen several being eaten by the backswimers. Its probably why they hide themselves in the mud. The frogs will get their own back on any emerging dragonflies too lol.

Made an interesting observation about the pond with the gc newts. I reckon someone puts small sprigs of willowherb etc in for the newts to lay eggs on as there was quite a few dotted about and cant see why they would be there otherwise. Could be detached by dogs i suppose. They definitely like to lay on leaves near the surface too, and there isnt all that much otherwise. You can see the leaves folded over and occasionally one of the females laying eggs on plants near the surface. I hope someone is looking after them.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 10:48 am 
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I haven't got any willow herb, shall introduce it when I find some! I'd love gc newts. I found a couple other nymphs, the v. small one is coleoptera rather than odonata, probably another diving beetle larvae
Yeh that description fits the nymph, certainly wasn't a hawker/emperor, too squat.
nice to see I've got different species of beetle breeding in the pond. Just need to wait for the plants to get a bit more prominent then the dragonflies should start coming
once again, sorry for poor pic quality, phone doesn't do too well w/ close ups


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Thu Apr 06, 2017 12:42 pm 
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top one looks like a damselfly larvae. not sure what species :)

the water moss is packed with them here. seems to be what they like. its very dense stuff. theres going to be an explosion of damselflies soon.

if you skim off the surface the mud in open water of a pond (shallow, in the sun) you will find lots of the chaser type of dragonfly nymph. its where they like to hang out. you cant see them unless they move, as they are cryptic and covered with debris. im going to try and grab a chunk of pond weed from this big pond near me, maybe drag a hook through in the center. hopefully they'll be some emperor nymphs as there was a few flying over the pond last summer.

the 4 newt larvae have grown. they are definitely feeding now. i put some pond water in which has tiny things swimming about in it. you can see the little newts making grabs at them. i think they have front legs now but they are so thin its hard to see. they have started to move about a bit by themselves, not just when prodded with a stick lol

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun Apr 09, 2017 3:10 pm 
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a couple of times while watching the tadpoles ive seen a great diving beetle larvae. it is probably about half grown and was swimming about in the open, sunny water. seemed not to be hunting as it ignored tadpoles and just carried on until it went back into the weedy area again. hope there are more than one. super cool, slinky looking things.

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue Apr 11, 2017 4:39 pm 
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there are at least two female great diving beetles so hopefully see more little ones soon.

heres a pic of the gc newts that were grown from eggs found in my pond. they are probably under 1.5 cm. so grown a lot but they are still very small. much more easily visible though and starting to have the appearance of proper newt larvae. they are eating small creatures in pond water which i supply small amounts of several times per day. they have well developed eyes, front legs and intestines, and are much like small fish. they can remain stationary in the water column for a long time and can swim quickly but usually move in short jerks. if these turn out to be smooth newts i will be well peed off after this effort lol


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 12, 2017 11:43 pm 
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ha. earlier i found some watercress with a load more newt eggs on it. probably smooth newt eggs but maybe some gc as well. looking forward to seeing lots of gc 'efts'. they are so big and awesome, probably cooler than the adults actually. just had a torch session in the dark and so much going on in the pond. saw a huge adult gc newt. it didnt like the light and it swam off rapidly. lots of 'ghost gnat larvae' hanging about. i dont know if thats the proper name of them. they are virtually transparent so hard to see during the day. a hedgehog crept up on me and freaked me out with a weird snorty noise. pretty creepy till i realized what it was. some of the tadpoles are pretty large now. amazing growth rate. lots of food for the increasing great diving beetle larvae :)

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:31 pm 
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good to hear agrius. V. interested to see the gc newt larvae develop! The ponds still got a bit of algae in but doing well. The tadpoles I'm keeping in a tank are getting bigger, at the same rate as those in the pond I've noticed. I was feeding them boiled lettuce, but now I've switched to fish food, they seem to like it. Also have a very small newt larvae in a tub with some plants and algae and loads of daphnia, which it can eat whenever it wants.


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File comment: top marks if u can spot the diving beetle larvae
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File comment: some shots of the pond
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File comment: some shots of the pond
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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon Apr 17, 2017 8:45 pm 
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on a slightly unrelated note, as it wasn't in my pond....I was in Spain last week and went on a couple walks in the mountains. Found a nice little stream, with lots of large mating toads and tons of toads spawn all over the pools.


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 12:43 pm 
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looking good will. keep some areas of the pond bottom 'open mud', as the broad bodied chaser dragonflies like to see that for egg laying, and its good for pond viewing generally, ie viewing newts, tadpoles etc. im going for a 50 /50 ratio of weedy to open areas, and im determined to not let the weedy areas fill up all the space. pushing and folding it back on itself seems a good method of control, that way the creatures are not removed and the excess just rots down and provides detritus for water louse, fly larvae etc. thats what i did with my duckweed last year, ie piled it up in a corner. it soon died and rotted off. hornwort is a good plant as it sits on the bottom and doesnt shade everything. i thought it was all dead but its just started to sprout from all the brown bits on the bottom. did you use any barley straw will cos your water looks nice and clear. it does not help with blanket weed unfortunately but thats easy to pull out. i had to get some out the other day as there was a bit of a growth in one area. i put it in a plastic tub so some of the tadpoles, snails and water boatmen nymphs could be separated. also found a big dragonfly larvae, so it was a good job i checked it before i put it in the compost.

what sort of toads are those. seem very late to be laying eggs. heres a few pics of my pond this morning. i wanted to take a pic of a great diving beetle larvae but cam batteries ran out.


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File comment: the water moss growing in the middle. frogs really like it in there
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File comment: tadpoles eating a dead smooth newt :)
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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue Apr 18, 2017 11:21 pm 
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found out today i have one of the most dangerous invasive species in my pond. NEW ZEALAND PYGMYWEED :(

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 1:12 pm 
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agrius wrote:
found out today i have one of the most dangerous invasive species in my pond. NEW ZEALAND PYGMYWEED :(


That stuffs a bugger, but in a small pond if you keep ontop of it you may be able to eradicate it.


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 19, 2017 4:44 pm 
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thats what im thinking but as its infiltrated all the corners it would be hard to get rid of without getting everything out and sorting through it all. i didnt even know that it was a 'bad plant' till yesterday. in fact i thought it was our native starwort, but thats now started growing in other places i began to suspect it was different. i wanted to know what it was so i did a google of pond weeds.

i thought it was a nice plant as its providing dense cover and it looks pretty, but i can see how it could be very invasive and swamp other plants. to be fair, the water cress seems to be holding its own

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri Apr 21, 2017 11:13 pm 
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made a couple of new barley straw bags for the pond as the blanket weed seems to be getting a bit rampant. also trimmed and pushed back the plant growth and had a general tidy up of floating crud. took all of about 10 mins. who says ponds need a lot of maintenance lol

got another 8 gc newt hatchlings from my pond eggs. 50% of gc newt eggs dont hatch due to the chromosome abnormality so not too bad. the earlier 4 could probably eat these baby ones now. i need to find some tiny worms for them. they are nice to watch swimming around and feeding on the minute animals in the water

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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Wed Apr 26, 2017 4:42 pm 
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a pic of the newt efts. an older one compared to a young one about 1 week old. the hind legs are not visible in the pic but are growing.


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue May 02, 2017 11:03 am 
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a couple of pond pics for all you pond lovers out there. well i assume...who doesnt like ponds :kp:

found a leech with a pretty pattern of white markings on it. not seen this species before. most are just brown or black. fascinating little worms.

just seen the first damselfly of the spring, a red one. seeing both hatching and full grown great diving beetle larvae. seems like they lay eggs over a fairly long time


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File comment: amazing giant cardoon growing by the pond, blocking the sun. not a good idea
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File comment: taddies doing well , feeding on some meat i put in. these ones are looking full grown now.
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File comment: a pretty leach, next to the swan mussel
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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Mon May 08, 2017 3:47 pm 
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a few damselflies emerged today...


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue May 09, 2017 4:00 pm 
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saw these two baby great diving beetle larvae, with full grown tadpoles. gutsy little fellas


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri May 12, 2017 4:46 pm 
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more pics...


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Tue May 16, 2017 6:34 pm 
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found these broad bodied chaser dragonflies, just emerged, this morning, some a short distance away from the pond. they were not able to fly yet and were fairly visible in the vegetation. they get the blue colouration, if male after about a week. also a lot of damselflies emerging again.


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Last edited by agrius on Tue Jun 13, 2017 10:25 pm, edited 9 times in total.
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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Sun May 21, 2017 11:06 am 
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more dytiscus related tadpole carnage. and a dragonfly larvae bites the dust. and a bonus carnage pic from the garden; a zebra jumping spider ambushed this bluebottle on the passion flower plant!


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 Post subject: Re: my new pond project
PostPosted: Fri May 26, 2017 5:00 pm 
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at least 6 broad bodied chasers returned to the pond today (6 counted at once). they were all brown, so either females or non mature males. some were flying low over the pond, with the abdomen tip bent, looking like they wanted to lay eggs but i only saw one actually laying eggs. they were doing a lot of chasing with much contacting and falling together with one grasping the other, but no actual mating. i dont know if this is because the females are territorial or its some kind of pre mating attemps that non mature males do. none were blue so impossible to sex them. it was very cool to watch their dog fights.

as there is so many, it seems they can remember the pond where they hatched from. last year, only saw sporadic adults, and they never stayed around long. these ones are hanging around all afternoon, usually just sitting in the sun on twigs and canes.

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