The Magic of Ponds

The British apparently are a nation of pond lovers.  Almost 1 in 10 gardens has a pond and there are now approximately 2 million of them, providing a haven for water wildlife and plants in urban and rural areas.  However, sadly, natural ponds are disappearing from our wider countryside at ever increasing rates as a result of pollution and draining from modern agricultural practises  and infilling.

Living and breathing on its own, a pond can offer residence and refuge to a wide range of amphibians and aquatic creatures and a place for thirspond1ty birds and other small visitors to stop and drink.  Much pond life is only present in a pond for a short period of time.  Many invertebrates stay there only as a dormant egg, nymphs or in other inactive life stages.  Other animals will just stop and use a pond like a service station, to stop at for a while to relax and refuel.  Fish are obvious residents but amphibians, birds, reptiles and mammals are in most cases transient visitors.  Bats and swallows often grab a bite to eat in the form of a freshly hatched insects from the water as they swoop and speed around a site.  Also, in the “slow lane” are the pond snails that take their time consuming other insects at the bottom of a pond.  Herons will stand still at the side of a pond watching and waiting until some tasty snack catches their eye and they will quickly strike down at it you with their long beak.  If stood quietly near a pond, you may be lucky enough to see a splash of bright turquoise and organge zipping into and out of the water in the blink of your eye, this will have been a kingfisher which may be catching fish or newts.

pond2 Is this article tempting you to go and get acquainted with your local pond?  Are you wishing you had a pond yourself to go and explore?  Would you and/or your family like an exciting activity to do together this weekend?  If the answer to any of these questions is yes, then The Mersey Forest can help you out!!  We are holding a free “Pond Exploration” course this Saturday, the 10th, with talks and guidance from 10-1pm at the Leaf Centre on Four Acre Lane (St Helens), our usual meeting point.  Then we will be spending the afternoon out exploring Griffin Wood’s ponds, undertaking surveys and putting all the pond creature i.d you will have learnt in the morning into practice all afternoon!

Please call The Mersey Forest team to book your place before Saturday morning 01925 816217

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