Thursday 17 July 2014

A Pond of Wonders

So a slightly delayed post about our pond dipping activity day at Bruichladdich. last Friday we met down at the Bruichladdich pier before traveling up to George's pond, a great little spot which became a great pond dipping experience. Before nets even got wet a few keen eyed pond dippers spotted some tiny froglets just in the grass around the pond, followed swiftly by a tiny toadlet, sparking discussion about the difference between the two, unfortunately these little fellas made an escape attempt whilst we were distracted by the other wonders we found. The activity started slow as the weather was hot and all the mini-beasts headed to the deeper regions, but a few clouds saved the day and with a few keen eyed netters we soon had trays over flowing with key species and a few monsters of the pond.

So our first finds were the typical water boatmen, mostly greater water boatmen but these were soon overshadowed by the first water scorpion of the day, after which we would find a handful more including this monster specimen who probably should of had his own bucket as these veracious predators see everything on the menu including tadpoles fish and even our tiny froglets. This one soon made quick work of one of our damselfly nymphs another top predator of the pond with the alien like hinged bottom jaw similar to their dragonfly cousins, they hunt by ambush grabbing anything that strays too close.

One of my personal favorites from the day was this brilliant water beetle, One of my favorite things to find in ponds; their larvae rival the water scorpion for top dog in most ponds. Alongside the usual groups of beetles and insects this was already a good haul until a shout went up for an eel. A great find Immediately followed by another great find, a leech, these two together where unexpected and we were incredibly luck.

These capped our pond dipping day and after releasing the critters back to the pond it was back to the centre to return some very muddy nets, and to let clean some very muddy wellies.

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