What a great turnout for my Pond Dipping sessions this April!
Dipping in the round pond at this time of year never disappoints. First-time dippers are amazed, both at the sheer quantity of life and the great variety. Throw in some fascinating pond creatures’ lifestyles and stories and everyone’s hooked!
The first net-full looks pretty uninviting – just dead leaves, mud and twigs, so disappointing! But tip this into my instant aquarium and what a change. Suddenly the water comes alive with large beetle-like creatures swimming rapidly around, mysterious brown things hiding in the mud, wrigglers and squigglers motioning crazily through the water. Hundreds of tiny seed-like shapes dart to the corners of the container.
The round pond is an important breeding place for Palmate Newts and it doesn’t take too long before the aquarium contains three or four of these creatures. Being dark brown and about seven centimetres long they can be very difficult for you to see in the dark pond water. But in the aquaria you can see their graceful swimming, legs pulled alongside the body, propelled by their muscular tails. The adults are air breathers and have only come to the pond to breed. At this time of year they carefully stick single eggs to the underside of leaves. Later the eggs hatch, newt tadpoles emerge and slowly change into recognisable immature newts before completing their transformation into adulthood and leaving the pond in September.
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