Pond Ponderings – East London Wildlife Pond
We are delighted to introduce a new Pond Ponderings writer, Lucy Colclough (also known as quest.for.nectar). Lucy is based in East London and is a writer who loves sharing her passion for nature. Lucy is also helping us to bring ponds to the nation online this weekend, 20th and 21st June, through our #PondWatch campaign on social media:
“When we moved into our East London flat just under two years ago, one of the first things we wanted to do was create a wildlife garden. As a kid I spent hours lying on my stomach watching the comings and goings in my parents’ pond so digging one of our own was a top priority.
Our pond is small – only about 1.5m across at its widest point – but definitely mighty! I almost can’t believe the incredible range of wildlife we’ve been able to attract to our tiny outdoor space. From the moment we lay down the liner and piped in the water there’s never been a dull moment.
One of the first things we did was get hold of some aquatic plants from family and our local garden centre. Not only do they look nice, softening the edges and adding splashes of colour, they’re also really important homes for lots of wildlife. My favourites are the Water Mint as it smells so gorgeous and the Purple Loosestrife as it’s taller than me!
To get things going we poured in a bucket of pond water from my dad’s pond complete with hitchhikers – tiny water fleas, flat worms and pond snails that soon multiplied into a thriving little underwater community.
Head out after dinner just as the sun is setting and peer down into the depths and you’ll see all the insects that have spent the day hiding under the pebbles. The water lice are ferocious looking beasts that spend their evenings tussling with one another in impressive wrestling matches but are actually totally harmless vegetarians. The flat worms also look pretty sinister, cruising over the rocks on the hunt for tiny crustaceans and other insect larvae.
I got excited earlier in the Spring as I thought we had damselfly nymphs but closer inspection proved them to be Mayfly larvae. Just as dainty and interesting to watch, I’ll never forget the time one kicked off from the bottom, shot to the surface and rocketed out of its own skin! A mayfly hatching is truly something to behold.
Within a few months of setting everything up we had our first dragonfly – a gorgeous female Emperor (pictured left). She zoomed around the garden before pausing to land on our water hawthorn and lay her eggs in the weed. So wonderful to see up close. Since then we’ve had a Common Darter, Large Red Damselfly and a couple of Black-tailed Skimmers pay us a visit.
There’s always something new to spot and reading a book in the sunshine with half an eye on the pond I never know what I’ll see. We have regular honeybee visitors, a flock of noisy sparrows takes a bath each morning, the toads from our flowerbed hop in for a dip when its dry and I once disturbed our local fox taking a drink.
If you’ve been considering creating a pond of your own during lockdown I can’t recommend it enough – half a day’s digging in exchange for hours of entertainment and a haven for local wildlife.
If you’re already enjoying your pond make sure to take part in #pondwatch on the 20th-21st June 2020 – a weekend to share photos and videos of all your favourite pond moments.”
Follow @quest.for.nectar on Instagram for wildlife pond updates!