Monday, October 24, 2011

Return of the Pond

We accumulated three inches of rain last week. That was enough to raise the well level by three feet and produce a small pool in the pond. Birds have swarmed in to use this water source for drinking and bathing.

The water is only a few inches deep, but that’s enough to transform the area from a terrestrial to an aquatic habitat. According to the long range weather forecast, we’re in for a few months of wet weather. If that occurs, developing aquatic life should enjoy another seven or eight months of open water.

It takes a while for the pond bottom to regain the appearance of a true submerged environment. Cracks that developed with the final disappearance of water a few months ago are still visible. Aquatic life will soon abound and the multitude of bottom dwelling organisms will sift through the mud until it once again becomes smooth.

Ruby Meadowhawks are the first to take advantage of the newly restored pool

Reproduction is their principle reason for coming to the shallow water. Several pairs cruised the water’s edge in search of suitable places to deposit eggs.

This species often flies in tandem while laying eggs. The male uses a special feature near the end of his abdomen to grasp the female just behind the head. He then leads the female to selected egg laying sites and directs her egg laying activities. This process also helps to protect his mate from potential rival males.

The pair will hover above the water and make occasional dips downward in order to release eggs. The eggs may be released directly over the water or they may be dropped in low lying areas that have the potential of being inundated in the future. When the population of little aquatic animals begins to blossom, the dragonfly larvae will be there to eat their fair share.

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