In answer to Matthew


Egg ropes of non-biting midges: they don't look quite like this in normal daylight. Then more like a blob of jelly with orangy-brown eggs embedded in it. Here the light for the photo is being shone through them from below which makes the jelly almost invisible..

Egg ropes of non-biting midges. They don't look quite like this in normal daylight when they are more like a blob of jelly with orangy-brown eggs embedded in it. Here the light for the photo is being shone through them from below which makes the jelly almost invisible.

Hi Matthew – the macaroni size blob of jelly with eggs might be from a non-biting midge – a chironomid (ki-ron-o-mid). I don’t think there’s a web site with pictures – but I’d didn’t look for long.

The other possibility is snails but since you haven’t added anything its unlikely that snails would be there yet. They took over a year in my pond, which I thought was amazingly fast given they can’t fly and there’s nowhere within at least 250 m they could have come from – and now I’ve got two kinds: whirlpool ram’s-horn and dwarf snail. It may be no accident that these are two smaller species that could be carried on a birds foot.

The wicking is a good idea – if the weather really doesn’t do it. It’s just that since spring 2007 its been so wet all the time that the pond just hasn’t gone down. I’m sure if we had some ‘normal’ summer weather it would!


2 Responses to “In answer to Matthew”

  1. Matthew Thompson Says:

    Hi. Thank you for the chironomid egg picture. That is what the thing I found looked like. We have found a horse trough full of ?dwarf snails about 25yds away the other side of a stream and when we checked our pond there was one in ours too! I don’t know how it got there unless it was in the rain water butt that I used to fill the pond. We have also seen a small diving beetle.

    When I reshaped the edge contours to make some shallow areas about 4 cupfuls of soil spilt into the pond (then my son threw in a few handfuls for good measure). With your emphasis on clean water, I’m feeling all angsty that I should siphon out the pond and let the sky refill it again when it’s clean? The pond is 50cm at deepest x 1.5m x 1m. Or I could hope the soil is not too nitratey and a good substrate for plants? At least I haven’t put 5cm of seived soil on the pond liner as recommended elsewhere. Your bucket of stonewort looks lovely and clean. I’m interested you’ve put stonewort in a bucket but nothing into your pond!

    Also, in Nick Baker’s ‘New Amateur Naturalist’ he says for breeding, toads are fussier than frogs, requiring deep water…..they breed in fewer ponds (one toad pond to every five used by frogs). He doesn’t say how deep, but could that be a good reason to recommend a pond of say 70cm depth rather than to stop it freezing solid?

  2. jonspond Says:

    Hi Matt

    Toads are adapted to spawning in deep, fish infested waters while the common frog is adapted to spawn in small warm shallow pools – most of these ponds/pools have largely disappeared from the countryside – thats why the 2 million garden ponds are so important.

    The deep water is not about the ice – as toads do not overwinter in the water – they live in terrestrial habitats like woodlands. The depth of the water is important for the oxygen content of the water and I think that toad tadpoles need oxygen rich water for longer than the common frog – they can survive in very warm shallow flooded grassland pools becos they develop quick and develop lungs sooner (I think that is right)

    My pond here in Alresford is a clean water pond designed for frogs – definitely not for toads – its max depth is just 20cm!

    Even this at this shallow depth the pond gets no where near to being frozen solid.

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