What a difference nine months makes

As high summer takes hold the pond and field show how much they have recovered from the muddy battlefield of last October. The meadow is lush and the water clear and once more full of life: dragonflies crisscross the surface and squadrons of young house martens noisily practice their divebombing skills. As the sun goes down pipistrelle bats appear silently in the evening above the ripples and plops of hungry roach. And then the barn owls appear.

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.

Swan Lake

A juvenile mute swan arrived today, quite bold and hungry, currently hoovering up the water crowfoot (which is a shame as it’s just started to flower). Lovely addition to the pond though.

Still a little brown = a juvenile
10pm. Looks like he’s staying the night.

A blank canvas

The pond is recovering from some work we did in the autumn and is now wider, deeper and has a proper island for our ducks. The recent rain has filled it to the brim and the field around it is slowly turning from mud to grass again. Things are looking a little bare at the moment (it is December after all) but we’re already planning for a spring of planting around the bank and by the summer it should be full of wildlife again.

Waiting for the wildlife to return