Mini pond being used and abused

I’ve been excited to catch a glimpse of what’s been using my little pond. For anyone interested in making their own little container pond, or anyone interested in general, I wanted to write about what I’ve seen so far and the adjustments I’ve made since setting it up. When I looked into making it, I found a fair amount of information about the initial set up but far less about what to do/expect after that. I can’t be sure if that’s through insufficient research effort on my part or lack of information out there, but I’ve been learning as I go!

Dog

Frequent pond-user caught on camera

Someone cheeky seems to think the pond is for her to drink out of. There’s no way to stop her without also excluding any wildlife and she’s not causing any harm to herself or the pond, just something to bear in mind if you have any pets. The water level did drop recently when the weather was warm, but I’m not sure if this was because of the water being drunk or because of excessive evaporation. Luckily the rain came soon after and I was able to top the pond up with more rain water.

Birds

I love watching the birds use my little pond. I am pleased that they seem to appreciate it as a water source and use it constantly! I got hundreds of photos and videos over just a few days on the wildlife camera I set up on the pond. They also seem to like perching on the little branch I put in as a help for animals that might need to climb out. I only have one issue with the birds… disturbing the plants! On several occasions when I’ve checked the pond, I’ve found a little pile of dead, dried out pond plants at the side, flicked out from their rightful submerged place by bathing birds. I don’t want to stop them using it so all I can do is keep a closer watch on it and put any plants back as soon as possible.

Invertebrates

I was really pleased when I first got a chance to take a closer look at the pond and saw the first animals which weren’t dogs or birds. I’m not sure of the ID of these little guys (any help would be appreciated!) but I was really pleased to see them.

The first non-dog or bird I spotted at the pond was this beetle sitting on the water mint.

I also saw a few “woodlice”, on the water mint and a few submerged in the pond (photos above). I’ve never seen woodlice in water, but have read that they can survive for some time submerged. Because of this, I’m not sure if they are woodlice or a related species.

I was intrigued by this little spider (again, any help would be most welcome!), but haven’t had the time since I spotted it to properly attempt identifying it. It was sitting on the stones just at the surface.

I’ve made a couple of changes since setting up, mainly due to the water starting to turn green:

Stones
I originally wanted to use stones as a gradual incline to allow animals to climb out, and as I wrote about, I just about managed this with a bit of a struggle. What I didn’t realise at the time was the quantity of stones I ended up using. When they naturally started subsiding, I realised I had almost half-filled the pond with stones, not leaving much space for water in there! The remaining water started turning green, and I thought that to help stabilise the (already small) amount of water that can fit in there, it would be better to remove the stones and top up with more rain water. I did keep some stones at the bottom to provide a bit of cover for any small animals which might swim down there.

Ramp
Because I removed most of the stones, I decided to add a little wooden plank as a replacement ramp.

Plants
I finally got the frogbit I was waiting for a couple of weeks ago, but because of the cheeky birds, I also needed to replace the lost spiked milfoil. I went with some more spiked milfoil and also some hornwort, which is supposed to be an excellent oxygenator. I am hoping this will help to make the water extra welcoming to wildlife and prevent further “greening” of the water.

Extract of barley straw
I have added extract of barley straw to the pond, which I’ve read mixed reviews for its effectiveness in clearing green water. I’ve not noticed any difference yet but thought it was worth a try.

Next things I’m waiting for are the wildflowers flowering, the grass and plants growing up around the little wildlife corner and more wildlife finding its way in. The wildlife camera is set so I’m ready to welcome some more wildlife!

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