Monday, December 28, 2009

Winter Pond

This is the typical pond water level during the winter; with the water about 30 inches deep near the center. I was hoping the Christmas rains would bring out some salamanders, but the timing, amount and duration of rain was totally inadequate for the purpose. Jefferson’s and Small-mouthed salamanders are the most likely to make a late December appearance.

Two sides of the pond are kept mowed, primarily to make it easier for me to get to the water to see what’s going on. From the time I first began to walk, I’ve been dabbling around the edges of ponds and I don’t see that habit being broken. Another habit I’ll probably never break is reaching out a little too far and ending up with some part of me in the water.

The rest of the pond is left unmowed and contains a nice collection of shrubs and dead wood. Some bird species, like cardinals and sparrows, like to utilize the brushy part of the pond. Doves and waxwings only visit the open sides.

The vegetation I mowed in August is decomposing and providing the nutrients necessary for a build up of daphnia and other crustaceans. These will be the first foods of the newly hatched salamander larvae. There’s also a light growth of algae that feeds a host of aquatic insect species.

Most salamanders attach their egg clusters to short grass stalks near the center of the pond. Occasionally I’ll find an egg cluster on one of the shrub branches. The branches often become exposed when the water level drops, so I’ll remove the branch with the eggs and move it into deeper water.

1 comment: