It is truly amazing how much wildlife can appear out of nowhere when you sink a bucket of water into the ground!
Those of you who follow me will remember that it was around 18 months ago (I think) that I decided I would add a bucket pond to my small garden as part of my mini re-wilding project. It was a simple trug which I sank in a hole dug on the upper level of my split level garden and which I simply filled with water from my water butt. The picture below shows how it looked just after I had installed it – clear and pristine.
I really wasn’t sure what was going to happen, or how wildlife was going to find their newly provided habitat, especially bearing in mind that all the neighbours have installed fences with concrete gravel boards which don’t exactly encourage the movement of wildlife. But I needn’t have worried because find it they did, although I have still got no idea how they got there 🙂 ! This year it has been teeming with wildlife!
I have had frogs, numerous, and an unbelievable amount of frog spawn that turned into a million tadpoles, some of which turned into more froglets and some that didn’t. On that latter point, I learned something new – not all tadpoles turn into frogs. Apparently, for a variety of reasons, tadpoles sometimes stay as tadpoles, or can turn into froglets later in the year or can even spend the winter as tadpoles and transform the next spring. Sometimes they simply don’t have the genes to change, or it might be because there isn’t enough food, or that the pond is too cold – they can live for years as tadpoles anyway 🙂 !
Aside from frogs and tadpoles, newts also appeared during the year. I was delighted when I spotted the first one but that was quickly followed by more. In the picture above, you can see both an adult and one of the juveniles – the latter are darker in colour. Its hard to understand where they came from since newts can’t fly 🙂 ! Of course, they don’t spend their whole lives in the pond so they may well have been living in the garden before the pond was built. Whatever the reason, I am really pleased that I now have quite a few.
The other thing is, as you can see from the picture above, I have hundreds of water snails although again, I have no idea where they came from.
I was also really pleased when I discovered that I have several toads. Chunkier than frogs and with less porous skin, these characters don’t hop so much as kind of ‘splodge’ across the ground! And I love them!
Much smaller that any of these, are those things which I always thought were aquatic worms with a big head, and which seemed to colonise any stagnant water. I have lots of those too but have long since discovered that they are not worms at all but the larvae of mosquitos.
Since I built the bucket pond, nothing is sacred in my garden and even the old bird bath gets commandeered at night. I’m guessing this is because of the dry and hot summer that we have had because frogs easily dehydrate so will search out any water to keep moist. I actually read an account this year that said, if you find a dried out frog which looks dead, and you put it in water, it can revive and rehydrate. I don’t know how true that is as I’ve not had the opportunity to try it.
And its not only the pond that attracts wildlife either. Slugs and snails seem to everywhere……especially around my little raised vegetable plot! They are amazing creatures but they do make it difficult to walk across my lawn in the evening! And if, for some reason, the tortoises don’t eat all their food, this is what happens…….
I love all the wildlife in my garden, and there does seem to be a lot for a small plot. Michael 🙂 for instance, has been with us for a good many years and he has his own little pad under the pond, with his own front door 🙂 Of course, I am aware that mice don’t live that long but every time we see him/one, we always think of him as being our Michael 🙂 !
Of course, we also have feathered visitors and residents. We’ve had Blue Tits nesting in our boxes this year and the nest below blew out of one of my conifers during a windy spell. It has become damaged but I believe it might be a wren’s nest.
It is amazing what happens when you re-wild your garden and I would encourage everyone to give it a go as our wildlife needs all the help it can get! One of my great pleasures is walking around my garden late on a summer evening to see what little creatures are around. Somehow, going out after dark with a torch makes it easier to see them, presumably because they only see the light and not me. Several of the pictures here were taken at night with my phone by the light of a torch. I have had as many as eight frogs, two toads, several newts, loads of water snails and tadpoles, as well as a myriad other tiny water creatures just in one evening…..and that’s just the visible ones! And I couldn’t possibly count the slugs and snails! Oh, and I’ve had foxes scat too.
Thinking of re-wilding your garden or adding a bucket pond? Give it a try, you won’t regret it 🙂 !
Stay safe, stay active, stay WILD, and thanks for stopping by to read my ramblings.
Until next time,
The Dorset Rambler
If you would like to contact me, my email address is firstname.lastname@example.org – comments and feedback are always welcomed.
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