Sunday, 22 May 2011

A better ecosystem in our pond

In July last year we had one of our garden ponds redone and when I restocked it, I put sticklebacks and minnows in instead of goldfish.  Well to be truthful, I managed to accidentally introduce a black goldfish, and have completely failed to catch it since.  It's now a nervous fish and I don't know how I'm going to catch it.  The idea was that the goldfish used to eat all the wildlife which tried to live in the pond, whereas the new fish are smaller, so should have a less dramatic effect, but we hope the sticklebacks and minnows will eat the mosquito larvea that would otherwise inhabit the water and emerge to bite us of a warm July evening.

Well the upshot of having only one goldfish is a pond full of tadpoles for the first time in years, and we were pleased enough with that, but then yesterday I spotted baby fish, so somebody's been at it down there.  But then today we managed to top even that, when we spotted a smooth newt in the pond.  We tried introducing newts years ago, without any noticeable success, so this was completely unexpected.

Sadly, all is not perfect.  Blackbirds nested in the hedge next to the pond earlier this year, and one of their fledgelings' inaugural flight was straight into the water, with terminal results.  On the opposite side is a brick pillar into which I built a nestbox, which this year was used by great tits.  And one of theirs ended up in the drink last week, too.

I think of it as putting evolutionary pressure on the fledglings to get it right first time.  Is that cruel?

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