….you’re sure to get a surprise! (sung badly out of tune to ‘if you go into the woods today…)
You may or may not remember our year-long pond study? Although we do not ‘officially’ pond anymore, the pond in question is situated in our village and so we often walk past or dander down for a look around and to visit with old friends. You may also recall that the local council had been and dredged up the pond, cleaning it, making it deeper and cutting down a lot of the plant life. They then built beds around the banks seemingly making the pond smaller:
As we watched with disappointment we saw a diminishing pond devoid of all its wildlife. Yes, it seems all our feathery friends had upped and left. By the beginning of January they were beginning to return:
Today we decided to pop down, cameras in hand, and see how all our old friends were doing. I thought it might be interesting to compare how the pond was twelve months ago compared to now:
Apart from the weather being much sunnier this time last year, there are two things I notice. The first is the abundance of Mallards and Moorhens this year compared with last and the second how much lusher everything is looking. It seems that the culling of various bushes and trees has done the pond no harm at all. In fact, the muddy bank (manmade last winter as seen in the top photo) has been planted and offers much shelter now for any wandering chicks:
Which is just as well, because we have lots of chicks this year as well! Last year, at the same time, the Moorhens were nesting and there were no other chicks in sight:
This year the Moorhens nested early, which we had noted during our visit late in February:
The resulting chicks are now juveniles and absolutely gorgeous:
But the real treat, and one which we had been hoping to see last year, but didn’t at this particular pond, were the Mallard chicks! Yes, our very clever Mallards have produced two little chicks! Last year all we saw were lone female mallards:
But this year, to our utter delight we were just centimetres away from this beautiful sight:
Aren’t they just the cutest things?
In fact the Mallard populations seems very healthy at the moment, with many seen in and out of the water:
And last but not least was the Heron. We are all huge fans of the Heron and have watched it intently over the past year. It is a frequent visitor to the pond and so it is no surprise that it was there last year as well as this:
It was incredibly good to back, with the time to visit properly with old friends, and take photos to chart the changes we have seen over the year.