However, the lack of open water has reduced the number of visiting dragonflies and the build up of silt and decaying debris does require some attention.
But prevarication and displacement activity are happy bedfellows...
"Ooo, wrong time of year."
"Do you want to get all muddy and trash the lawn or go for a nice walk? Yeah, me too."
"Damn, it's way too hot, the wildlife will suffer from heat stress."
"Oh look! A pair of damselflies egg laying! Best leave them alone."
"Damn, it's chucking it down out there!"
The Common Darters that emerged in the summer of 2010 were the first "home grown" ones we had recorded for the garden, but they were small and weedy. I took this as a signal that all was not well below the surface and realised that the time for excuses was over. At the first sensible opportunity, the pond would have to be cleaned.
Fast forward to late winter 2011. A slight rise in day time temperatures results in the local blackbirds and crows starting to gather nesting material. During an evening walk, we spot a Toad on the move. Nature is waking up from her slumbers and there's not a moment to lose.
A quick trawl of the internet informs me that I should lower the water level, removing plants and wildlife as I go. Then, after removing all the mud and silt from the bottom of the pond, clean the liner and any hard features (cobbles and pebbles, in our case). Finally, seed the pond with a small amount of silt to start the natural process again, then re-introduce plants and wildlife and top up with rain water.
What could be simpler?
"Slight rise in day time temperatures", my arse! The water was bloody cold. Coupled to that, the aroma from the rotting vegetation was a subtle blend of silage and sewage. Lovely!
However, I surprised myself, not to mention Our Lass, by completing the operation in a day. Well, I say "completed", as long as it rains soon, to top up the water level.
I can probably wait another eight years before doing that again!
|The task begins. Plants removed.
|Silt and debris removed. Clean again.
|Water beetle, possibly Colymbetes fuscus
|Common (or Smooth) Newt
|Restocking with plants, wildlife, cobbles and water