To increase our biodiversity we have long wanted to dig a pond in our woodland — we have tried before — it is not easy manoeuvring a heavy digger in waterlogged mud — what you need, we have learned, is an expert.
We know where to dig from the rushes and willow saplings that grow there (and the dents from previous attempts). In the past, discretion has always forced us back onto solid ground, occasionally with great difficulty! Today the weather is dry and sunny and the nearby stream is the lowest we have ever seen. Meurig, a man at one with his machine — he could use it to peel an orange, has come to help us.
By lunchtime we have a big hole and as he predicted water is appearing all by itself.
The one larger willow will be on its own island — ducks welcome,
By teatime its definitely a pond and filling up fast and I’m looking on the internet for life-belts!
We have uncovered a cache of thick, antique Welsh slate — haphazard sizes, mainly broken that were buried in the mud — they might help waterproof the clay banks — if nobody wants them — does anybody want them?
Don’t worry — it will all green up in no time but we might help a bit with some native pond weed and maybe some yellow flags and buckbean.
Today 4 septuagenarians, one carrying a 10 ft ladder, picked their way along a precipitate and thickly wooded hillside in the foothills of the Cambrian mountains. While others waved flags (today was the Queen’s Platinum Jubilee) we looked for bird nest boxes put up at the end of winter and now hidden in the deep foliage of the Welsh rainforest. Bill and I were trying to help ring this year’s chicks.
A right of passage — to get a number before they leave the nest — for us to monitor what is going on and to make sure we are doing the best we can to help the local birdlife! Most of out boxes only went up this year so expectations were not high as Jan and Jon of the local Habitat Protection Group inspected the 12 boxes which were designed primarily to boost our population of pied flycatchers.
Two of the boxes revealed pied flycatchers, one with a record brood of 9 chicks. The total of 16 chicks in the first year exceeded our wildest dreams.
12 boxes yielded 48 chicks of which 24 were blue tits, 16 pied flycatchers and 8 great tits.
Thanks to the Habitat Protection Group for sharing their time, knowledge, expertise and for their patience and for giving us such a memorable jubilee.