Wildlife (and not so Wild introduced species) in my Garden pond.
This page lists some of the wildlife that having a pond has attracted or helped. If you like wildlife having a pond is a great idea. I haven't really had time to update this page so it's a bit out of date.
What I didn't realise when I built the pond was that all of the local wildlife come to have a drink. This means that when they are unwell then tend to come to the pond as an easy source of water. Last year we had no less than 3 sick hedgehogs and this poor old fox was here in broad daylight. Not so good since I have guinea pigs.
This is a bit of a cheat as I know that I had hedgehogs already but sitting out at dusk on night last week watching the frogs I got to see one wandering around the garden which I would normally miss. We put in a hedgehog nesting box to help them out. They are often seen on the beach, drinking from the pond.
This year I found a hedgie collapsed behind the pond and the story of this can be found on the July 2002 page.
Right from the start the frogs moved in. The first summer was spent watching them leaving the pond at dusk. Then the next spring we had well over 20 lots of frog spawn (see March, April and June). Then later this year we started seeing the odd toad. I haven't seen any toad spawn for sure but with the large amount of duckweed it would be easy to miss. Then, this year, after 3 years the newts have moved in. I think that they are smooth newts although they could be palmate as I haven't had a chance to examine them closely. Hopefully they will be breeding here.
Although not strictly attracted to the garden by the pond the birds have been very pleased with us for digging up all of those worms during the construction process. The pair of robins that are nesting in our ivy hung around the whole time we were working on it being very picturesque perching on the fork the minute it was stuck in the ground.
The blackbirds were also straight in the minute we stopped work and enjoy a good meal of tadpoles in the spring, standing on the beach and filling their beaks. Something had taken a couple of the poor old great pond snails and bashed them on the rocks soon after I put them in. I started seeing both song and mistle thrushes the year after putting the pond in so they are likely culprits. I don't know if the pond specifically attracts them but I've not had them before.
House sparrows have been using the bare patches of the new flower bed as a dust bath. One of the most entertaining things I have seen since creating the pond is a wood pigeon standing up to its neck in water on the beach. It was completely unable to take off when it spotted me as it was so sodden!
I' introduced some Rams Horn Snails and Great Pond snails which bred profusely and colonised the pond. I particularly like watching them wander around the pond and they seem to provide some food for the wildlife. There now seems to be at least two types of Ramshorn snails and I put another type of snail in last summer although I've not seen them again since.
Daphnia and other small creatures
I want plenty of small animals to eat the algae and I brought a jam jar home - so hopefully they are breeding away at the moment. I have also added a bottle of water from the local lake to the water which should have helped with other microscopic life. Last autumn I had a bit of a dip in the pond and found literally dozens of different types of mini beasts. I future project will be a page on these.
It never takes them long to find water - my pond had one before I'd even finished building it! By July there were hundreds on the surface of all sizes - they obviously liked it. The following year there were less of them - I think that maybe the Azolla was too thick on the water for them, but we still see a lot of them.
Other Pond Life
Plenty of pond invertebrates took up residence in the pond. I've seen a variety of diving beetles and water boatmen around. There are also quite a few larvae of various kinds although I must admit I'm not much good at identifying them. I've also seen lots of leeches and the like and there are dragonfly larvae which like to snack on tadpoles.
Bees and Wasps
I had bees around the marsh marigold as soon as it was in. By the summer they were drinking from the pond and enjoying all of the additional butterfly and bee attracting plants I have put in around it. I have installed a solitary bee nesting box for them behind the pond. We also get a sort of wasp highway with them collecting water from the pond. I'm afraid we do destroy any wasps nests in the garden or house as they are a hazard but the ones using the pond leave us alone if we leave them alone.
I planted for bees and butterflies but I was still quite surprised by the number that I got in the first year. Mostly just common species such as peacocks, red admirals and commas but it was very pretty. I would encourage anyone to leave a patch of nettles in one corner of their garden to encourage them to breed.
Beetles and Spiders
Small black and brown beetles took up residence under the rocks as soon as I got them - unfortunately I kept moving them but they should got a bit of piece once I stopped. Many small spiders live under the stones on the beach hunting small insects. Great fun to watch.
Dragonflies are now regularly visiting the pond in summer. It is my ambition to catch a photograph of one of them one day but mostly they do not settle.
At dusk you can sometimes see bats flying over the pond catching insects.
Mosquitos like you wouldn't believe.
When we came back after a week on holiday after finishing the pond it was mosquito city! There was a very large number of mosquito larvae swimming under the surface and about a dozen adults laying eggs - ick!! As a result of this I gave up on my pledge not to have fish and bought some Golden Rudd which were hopeless. These were followed by some Shubunkin and Goldfish which solved the problem quite well. I, of course, subsequently regretted introducing the fish as I imagine the pond wildlife would have started eating the mosquitos fairly soon but there you go. Once the pond was established the mosquito larvae disappeared and they never really came back even after the fish were gone.
I decided upon Golden Rudd because they are a colour variation of a native species but do not get too big. They are also allegedly surface feeders so I hoped that they would take the mosquito larvae (no such luck). They did very well and whilst I lost most of the goldfish and Shubunkin in the first year the Golden Rudd bred like little aquatic bunnies and I must admit I enjoyed watching the shoals swimming around. However they disappeard the following year and I suspect a heron. I haven't replaced them as it is a wildlife pond.