Wildlife Wednesday – New life in the pond …

August’s wildlife report is a bit of a list of missed photo opportunities, starting with a young badger that seems to visit about midnight. I know that there is one about, because there have been a couple of encounters between Sadie and the badger when I’ve let her out at night. The first time Sadie cornered something behind a large planter that stands by the back door. Arrested by a fair amount of hissing and noise, Sadie backed away to reveal a small black and white striped, pointy nose. The badger rounded the pot, heading in my direction, but then scarpered when it saw me. The next thing to be spotted, but not photographed, was a fox that was curled up asleep at the base of the Victoria plum tree one morning. And finally, last weekend I disturbed a grass snake basking in the sunshine on top of the compost heap. I couldn’t put the scraps down fast enough to reach for my phone in time for a shot. Ah well, you will just have to trust me on those.

What has entertained us over the same period has been an abundance pond life. For instance, there has been a new batch of emerging dragonflies in August. It’s been the turn of the Ruddy Darters. They have been shedding their last nymph skins, leaving them attached to the upright marginal plants and mating around the pond edge in their scores. I’ve not managed to photograph them clearly as they dip together to the pond surface, but since there are plenty of individuals buzzing around the garden, making use of various posts and canes, there are other shots to take:


Female Ruddy Darter

Then there are more frogs around this year, in spite of a lack of frogspawn in the pools. This one (below) now seems to be living in the greenhouse and scares the life out of me when it jumps as I water in there.


Our resident greenhouse frog

You may recall that we lost a large number of fish (mostly the bright goldfish) at the end of last year to heron predation. We’ve been debating whether to replace them or just stick with the surviving Rudd. Well, it seems that nature has provided a new population no matter what we decide, because the pool is full of hundreds of baby fish. I think these are mostly Rudd, but there are definitely at least half a dozen new goldfish in there too. Currently they range from 1cm to 3cm in length, but they are visibly growing daily:


In the post-heron era it turns out we have babies. Hundreds of them!

With August’s temperatures hitting new highs the importance of providing water for wildlife was brought home by the increased usage of all the ponds and bird baths. In fact I’ve filled a couple of shallow plant saucers to provide extra options for drinks and baths at ground level. This one was placed on the path running out through our pebble garden and, as you can see, it was almost immediately put to use by some greenfinches:


Even the tiniest ‘pond’ has been busy!


Bathtime at the bubble fountain has drawn all manner of birds


Blackcaps have re-appeared in the garden (female in the picture foreground)

A pair of Blackcaps have re-appeared recently and seem to move around with the tit flock.


Goth eye-shadow on a long-tailed tit!


Goldcrest hopping round the base of the drilled stone to drink


A chiffchaff has been visiting regularly

Elsewhere, in the vegetable garden and flower beds the pollinators are continuing with their essential roles. I’ve let a patch of carrots go to flower and have enjoyed watching an amazing number of flies and wasps visit the umbellifers.  I noticed this (below) incredibly colourful insect on them one day. I thought perhaps it was a sweat bee of some kind, but have since had it IDed as a ruby-tailed wasp. It was so tiny (~1cm) and shiny!


Ruby-tailed wasp


This bumblebee would appear to be the ideal pollinator for a passionflower!


Hoverfly on chicory

My final spot is an orange moth that was attracted into the house the other evening. It is a Centre-barred sallow moth. I retrieved it, photographed it and put it outside. This isn’t the best shot for an ID I know, but I think that cute face looks like an anime creature come to life. Don’t you?


A Centre-barred Sallow moth

I am linking up with Tina@mygardenersays for her monthly Wildlife Wednesday meme.

About Frogend_dweller

Living in the damp middle of nowhere
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11 Responses to Wildlife Wednesday – New life in the pond …

  1. shoreacres says:

    Your ruby-tailed wasp is my favorite. I love iridescent insects of all sorts, but that one is special. And I get such a kick out of some of your British names for birds. ‘Chiffchaff’ is especially appealing. You certainly have a lovely setup for your birds’ water needs. Our hot weather typically ends in late September, and even the pigeons have been coming to drink and bathe. Your photos of the birds are wonderful. Either you have one of those really, REALLY big lenses, or your birds are comfortable enough that you can get closer to them. In either case, the results are splendid.

    • That’s so kind. I don’t do big lenses, ‘cos I can’t hold the camera still enough and tripods require organisation. Chiffchaff is supposedly the bird’s song, so no imagination there then! I’ve never heard them sing, so can’t confirm. We are still having brilliant weather here, but that is due to end imminently.

  2. What an amazing month for wildlife. Your photographs are terrific. I still have no frogs in my pond. You are blessed with all your new babies. Happy days.

  3. Eliza Waters says:

    I’m sure the extra water was greatly appreciated this past month when it was so hot.
    I love the ruby-tailed wasp, I’ve never seen anything like it!

  4. Sue says:

    I love that last photo of the orange moth! Yes, it does look like some anime creature lol. I have heard about your very hot summer, I’m sure the birds appreciated all the extra water provided for drinking and dunking in. And good luck with all those baby fish, hope they don’t become a buffet for someone!

  5. Absolutely gorgeous photos! It’s heartening to see that you’re caring about, and protecting, so many creatures in your garden. If only more people would realize the importance of putting out fresh water each day for all the wildlife. I do envy you, having a frog in your greenhouse. Unfortunately, in our city and surrounding areas, frogs are almost extinct, due to loss of habitat. Thanks for this uplifting post!

    • You are very welcome. Water is certainly a key draw for surrounding wildlife, even if it is only a filled saucer for bees and wasps etc. I am lucky to be around enough to see the creature enjoying the fountains and pools.

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