Exception to the rule

We’ve made the decision to add a non-native species to the pond: grass carp. Originally from Asia where they are used to get rid of weeds in paddy fields and that is what we need them for here. We have the first signs of broadleaved pondweed in the pond and really do not want it to take hold as it could completely take over, as it has done in the small pond.

The fish are herbivores and won’t eat amphibia or other fish, and won’t breed either and so are a safe and hopefully effective form of weed control. So long as the herons don’t eat them.

Fishy lawnmowers
The first signs of broadleaved pondweed
Uncontrolled broadleaved pondweed in the small pond

Fish thief!

At last caught on camera: the fish thief! This grey heron has been visiting for a while, leaving big footprints in the mud around the pond, but today’s the first time he’s triggered the trail cam. Does seem to be limping though. Hopefully will get more footage soon with a better view.

A gaggle of geece

Five greylag geece visited the pond this morning; lovely to see but the the appetite of geece can be rather destructive to fragile pond plants. They didn’t stay long, treating the pond rather like a motorway service station, and once they had their fill off they went, heading north.

A hare and its predators

Filmed over two nights on the same camera at a busy crossroads: a hare, a cat, a fox and a badger.

And here’s a composition of all four to show their relative sizes (the hare is closer to the camera so it looks bigger than it is).

Hare, fox, badger and cat

Hare

We spotted this brown hare a few days ago running at full pelt into the distance but this morning filmed it on the trail cam undisturbed in the early morning sun. It is coming into the field (we hope looking for a nesting site) through the holes in the hedge that the badgers make. Unfortunately badgers and hares don’t mix well together but there’s not way we can let one in but not the other: we’ll have to leave nature to do its thing.

Red Kite

Not a great quality photo but you can clearly see the forked tail

The unmistakable silhouette of a red kite over Tipton’s Croft. They’re not an unusual site around Shrewsbury but we don’t usually see them overhead here. The resident buzzard wasn’t impressed.

New tenants in the Pond

Today we had a delivery of some more native English fish to join the roach already resident in the pond: some three-spined stickleback and perch. Hopefully the pond will be big enough for them all to avoid each other as much as possible, as the perch are rather partial to eating small fish.

Amphibian adrift

Say hello to one large Great Crested Newt! Found on the floor of our garage, about a hundred yards from the pond, not very well, but perked up quickly once relocated to a more appropriate site in the undergrowth on the pond’s edge.

It’s not just owls!

The three barn It’s not just owls! Summer is a great time of year for the insects too 🦗🐜🕷

Ghost of a dragonfly

It’s the time of year for our dragonflies to morph from larvae to adults. Here’s the discarded cast (‘exuvia’) of the old skin, probably from a broad-bodied chaser as we have lots of those here and this cast is quite big (about two inches long).

The ghostly remains of a dragonfly larva.

Spawning roach

The roach are spawning at last as the weather finally warms up. They’ve been getting all splashy in a clump of water crowfoot and have been at it all day.

Normally rather shy, today the roach are behaving like a pod of dolphins.