Sunday, 29 March 2015

Re-repairing Our Small Pond

We noticed that our small pond was leaking because there was a big hole in the liner, so we decided to repair it. We bought some new thick plastic and doubled it over and used it to line our new pond.  We drained all the water out, moved the water plants out carefully so that the roots didn't brake, threw all the dirty mud on our plant beds as mulch and threw away the old liner. After that we started to put the new plastic in the pond. When we had finished putting it in we started to pour clean water into the pond. Whilst we were pouring in the water I noticed a larvae on the ground. I picked it up and realized that it was a dragonfly larvae that we had disturbed when removing all of the mud out of the pond. At first I thought it was dead but then my Grandad told me to put it in water just to be sure. I told him there wasn't any point as I knew it was dead, but my Grandad insisted.  I put the larvae in some water and to my surprise it started swimming. I was shocked because it looked dead and it was very light. Then I thought there must be a lot of them there so I started to look for them in the mud that my granddad had thrown away on the beds, and sure enough I found another one!! The second one I found was as big as my thumb which is about 5 cm long. Then my Grandma started to look for them and she found another one. We decided to put them in a big bucket of water until the pond was finished. We got back to work filling the pond with rain water but every now and then I kept looking for more dragonfly larvae and I found another 5 but 2 of them had already died ;(  so all together there were 5 dragonfly larvae which was epic!!! It took us about 2 hours to finish the pond and it looked GREAT!!! The water was clean, it wasn't dirty and there were no dead insects in it. So after we had finished making the pond we put in the dragon fly larvae  and I watched them swim around for a little bit.  Then we went inside to have lunch.

Me and my grandma looking for dragonfly larvae





Just put in the new liner




Pouring in the water
 
Finishing up the pond


               
Dragonfly larvae
The new pond finished 

Sunday, 15 March 2015

Pond Life In The Winter- Dragonfly's

What do dragonflies do in the winter? Most of the the fully grown dragonflies will die before winter approaches, however some adult dragonflies will MIGRATE south and will spend the winter as adults there!! Not many insects are active in the winter, but the dragonfly larvae are. In the winter the larvae will swim around in icy ponds. They will live underwater in winter and feed and grow throughout the season becoming adults in early spring.  Once when I was watching a little fish swim around in the shallows of our pond, I saw how a dragonfly nymph jumped out of the sand, grabbed a little fish and swum under the sand with the dead fish in its mouth!!!
  
Here is some pictures of  dragonflies  I saw  at a festival  

Monday, 9 March 2015

Pond life in the winter- Pond skaters and Water boatman



Pond skaters- Pond skaters do not spend all their time on the water, in autumn they will fly far away from the water to hibernate through the winter. The Pond skaters will emerge from hibernation in the warm spring. I watch them with amazement as they eat their prey (normally flies or insects).  They stand on the water patiently until a fly or some kind of insect falls in the water and then they will jump on the prey and start demolishing their victim. But how do they know that an insect has fallen in the pond so far away????  They can sense the vibrations and ripples on the water when some thing falls or flies in it!!   



Common Pond Skater eating an ant!

Water boatman-  In winter most of these insects can survive, even under a thick layer of ice. They row very slowly under the ice looking for a trapped air bubble. They fill up their own air supply with the air of a bubble and then dive down to the bottom. When the water gets really cold they will still survive, in fact in one way it is better for them in the winter!?why? Because the ice cold water contains more oxygen. The bubbles are also normally larger in winter than summer. According to some people, if water boatman freeze they can simply thaw out and start swimming around again in spring!


  
Water boatman