It’s the Pond Post!!!

It’s The Pond Post!

Hello again everyone! Since the last post, nature wise I have just been concentrating on the pond. I put some pictures in the previous post, but I want to talk about it some more, as I’m really excited by it!

When I was digging and weeding the garden a while back, I decided we wanted a pond more than a veggie patch, so carried on digging a hole, ably assisted by Joseph. We dug a rough oval hole out and piled up the mud behind it. At this stage I thought I was going to put a preformed liner in, so just dug a big hole.

There are few things in life more satisfying than digging a big hole. I have always loved digging holes. When I was a kid, I had a little bit of the garden to do with as I pleased, so I started digging a hole. My initial aim was to dig a tunnel to Mortimer’s Hole at Nottingham Castle, which having quickly decided that was near-impossible, was changed to Peterborough, which somehow seemed but more feasible!

First there was a hole…

First Hole

After spending a whole heap of time researching the shapes, sizes and relative costs I decided that I definitely wanted a small preformed liner, which you could get from eBay for about £25 quid. It would be perfect, and had different levels so you could plant it up and put a solar pump in it.

Then I spent the next few weeks almost clicking “buy” on eBay, until sometime later, having watched a few YouTube videos on DIY ponds I totally changed my mind and decided to get a pond liner and some underlay. So that meant we went back to the hole and put some layers in it ourselves, which a graduated escape path for anything that fell in. (I was thinking about Hedgehogs mainly)

Then came a bigger hole…

Bigger Hole under Joseph’s supervision

Then the Trucks came…

Trucks!

So I ordered a 3m*3m pond liner with free underlay from Bradshaws Direct  for £17 including P&P, and it came in  couple of days!

The day it came, Joseph and I went out after work, and took the last of the stones and bits of pottery from the bottom of the pit, lined it with a bag of sand, and put the underlay and liner down.

The the liner went in…

So now we had to fill the pond, and as we wanted it to be a natural as possible, we could not use tap water, because of the amount of chemicals used to purify it for drinking purpose. So we would have to wait for some rain.

First Rain!

 

The Birds were not patient though, and wanted to try it out as soon as possible!

We now had some water in it, but it wasn’t looking very natural, or wildlife friendly. The black liner needed disguising, and luckily for me, a friend at work (We’ll call him Bob, because that’s his name!) said he had loads of rocks and pebbles that he wanted rid of.

So when all the rock had been delivered, I placed then in a rough fashion all around the pond.

Then we got distracted by a caterpillar…

Sitting in the dining room, we realised we could not actually see the pond through the amount of overground grass and weeds, so on Sunday we tackled the rest of the garden.

In doing so we found a lot of frogs sheltering in the dark and damp corners of the garden and this beautiful caterpillar, which we think is destined to be an Elephant Hawkmoth!

Almost full now…

After I had initially arranged the rocks, Jo (who is hugely more creative and artistic than me) did a much better job, and here is what it now looks like.  It does need a few more rocks (another donation is on it’s way today) and it needs some plants, but it is now pretty much full, and I can officially say it’s teeming with life.  It currently has 1000’s of midge larvae swimming about in it, and it has had a frog in it (albeit very briefly) !

On Sunday night Jo and I were stood under an umbrella watching the pond fill up in the middle of a torrential downpour! That is our current level of obsession in the pond!

This is not by any means a educated “How to…” guide, but it does show that with a little effort and enthusiasm, and a few helpful donations from friends you can create a half-decent wildlife pond for less than £20 all in!

What’s next?

From now on, I’ll keep you updated of the ponds progress. We are going to get some plants to keep it oxygenated, and will keep adding more rocks and pebbles as we get hold of them.

I am reliably informed that all we really have to do now is wait for nature to take it’s course and to quote Kevin Costner “If you build it, they will come.”

Please comment and share if you liked this blog, and feel free to share your pond experiences with me here!

Cheers
Dan

www.spotterjotter.co.uk
Facebook.com/groups/SpotterJotter
Download the Android app  from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=spotterjotter.spojo.com.spojomobile20

 

Not Spotting, Spotting

Hello SpoJos,

Since the last blog, we haven’t been out and about anywhere “proper” nature-wise – other things in life have got in the way.
The big news in the birding world is that there are 6 Bee-Eaters nesting in a quarry at East Leake, Notts, which I haven’t been to see yet, but might find time to have a look at in the next few weeks, and I’ll keep you posted!

Joseph’s pitfall trap has still not caught any beetles yet – it had a snail, and lots of ants, but much to both our disappointment no beetles yet, we’ve tried Orange and Brocolli in the bottom, but may need something more tempting to attract them. Suggestions gratefully accepted please!

Also since the last blog post, the car has come back from it’s MOT relatively unscathed – with a new rear coil fitted, and a clean bill of health for another year!

As the MOT was not as bad as I had imagined it would have been, I have finally gone and bought the pond liner! Less than £20 for 3m*3m with a lifetime guarantee, free underlay and free next day delivery sounded too good to be true.

I got it from eBay from Bradshaws Direct. Here is a direct link to their company website:  http://www.bradshawsdirect.co.uk

Excavation Work in Progress

We dug it out a while ago, and last night me and Joseph spent some time removing the bulk of the stones from the bottom, then lining with a decent layer of sand, then the underlay (which I had enough to fold into two layers) and finally we put the pond liner in and temporarily secured the edges with some bricks. So far, so good, it looks really good quality.

Pond Day One
Pond Day One

Now all we have to do is wait for some rain to fill it up, and then we can trim the edges, put some rocks, pebbles and gravel round it and start to plant it up.

The progress of the pond will feature in future blogs. I have a vision in my head of a tranquil pool at the bottom of the garden, surrounded by dragonflies and bubbling with frogs, and newts with pond-skaters skimming the surface, and the occasional visit from an inquisitive Heron.
The reality may well be more hap-hazard, and mosquito based, but we will see!

Latest Update: Last night we stood outside during a 5 minute torrential downpour to watch our pond being christened – here is an up to picture from this morning.

Pond Day Two

I have also starting putting the camera out again and hoping to get more footage of the hedgehogs and foxes. The first night I got nothing except early morning blackbirds, but last night I got some hedgehog footage. Have a look here for the video:

www.spotterjotter.co.uk/foxes.aspx

All the existing fox, hedgehog and mouse footage can viewed here,  but I cannot claim that is all from our garden, a lot of the footage is from Louise who tirelessly feeds all the wildlife both at work and at her home.

Not going out to watch wildlife, doesn’t mean that you don’t watch wildlife. So yesterday, which was a normal work day, I decided to actively count how many birds I’ve seen at home, on my way back and forth to work (I’m lucky enough for that to be a 5 minute bike trip).

Home – before work
1) Loads of house sparrows busy feeding their youngsters.
2) A couple of Collared doves chasing each other around the garden.
3) Another couple of fat Woodpigeons sat on the neighbour’s chimney.
4) Blackbirds hustling around the lawn for worms.
5) Swifts blasting around the garden like mini tie-fighters.
6) A flock of starling hoovering up the seed from the feeders.

Going to work
7) Goldfinches on the phone wires over the road.
8) Jackdaws nesting in someone’s chimney.
9) A few swallows with their kite like tails flying low over the fields.

At Work
10) A Robin checking me out when I got in the car park to see if I had any food (Again this is thanks to Louise, who they have come to expect food from!)
11) Blue tits,
12) Great tits,
13) Chaffinches,
14) Coal tits,
15) Long-tailed tits all on the feeders at work
16) Squirrels chasing around on the lawn
17) A pair of pheasants tempted over from the field next door to feed on our lawn.

Going home
More swifts, and a few 18)crows flying overhead.

At home
19) Black-headed gulls flying high over the garden.

Without even trying, I saw 18 species of bird, and some squirrels. That’s usually a decent haul from a visit to Attenborough!

The point I’m attempting poorly to put across, is that the more you look, the more you notice. I’ve done the short journey to work a million of times, and when I’m concentrating on something else I could go to work and not see, or hear one bird. The same thing applies to your garden, before I started putting food and the trail camera out, I would have never have dreamt we would have foxes, or hedgehogs visiting us in the night, and when (not if!) we get an exotic insect in our pitfall trap it will be another brilliant backyard discovery.

One day a week, have a walk or a ride somewhere, no headphones, no phone (unless it’s been installed with SpoJo!) with your eyes open looking at the sky, the trees and and any patches of green. Bury an old jam jar pitfall trap in your back garden. Put some food scraps out in the garden and even if you don’t have a trail camera, just sit and watch for a bit. I guarantee you will surprise yourself how much you see. And please let me know the results!

Cheers
Dan

www.spotterjotter.co.uk
Facebook.com/groups/SpotterJotter
Download the Android app  from https://play.google.com/store/apps/details?id=spotterjotter.spojo.com.spojomobile20