Wildlife in my Wildlife Pond

Wildlife in my Wildlife Pond

The reason we created our wildlife pond was to support and encourage wildlife.  I’d love to be able to tell you about every creature that has ever visited my pond, but I don’t manage to spend as much time here as I would like and I’m not the fastest mover, so I’ve only managed to capture a fraction of the wildlife that has visited this area of my garden.

I watched this Dunnock (Prunella modularis) bathe in the pond before heading into my neighbour’s garden, on the 15th May 2020.

It’s so uplifting to watch birds bathing in the waterfall; so far I’ve spotted Sparrows, Dunnocks, Blackbirds, and Robins.  My heart does a little somersault each time I observe a bird bathing in our little waterfall, as when I designed this part of the pond I really hoped the birds would enjoy using the waterfall in this way.  I’ve seen birds bathing many times as I’ve approached the pond, but I’ve never managed to capture it on film!

I’ve got a small waterfall in my pond that runs 24 hours a day. It’s a joy to watch the birds bathing in the running water.

Sadly, I’ve not seen a frog or a toad in my garden for over two years now.  Toads and frogs return to mate in the pond where they developed as a tadpole.  I’ve not seen any frogspawn or toadspawn in my pond, but there isn’t a natural pond nearby, so unfortunately, I don’t think any frogs or toads would travel to my pond to mate.  This is disappointing, as I love frogs, toads, and tadpoles.  I’d absolutely love to be proved wrong; it would be wonderful to have tadpoles!  I’ll continue to look out for frogs and toads in the garden.

Hedgehogs are one of my favourite animals, but these lovely creatures are becoming more endangered.  Sadly, I’ve never seen a hedgehog in my current garden.  But if a hedgehog makes their way here and decides to take a swim in my pond, they’ll be grateful for this pond’s shallow sides and beach area, which make it easier to both enter and exit the pond.  Sadly, many hedgehogs drown in garden ponds, as water features are often created with aesthetics as the priority and with wildlife as an afterthought.  Ponds are easy for hedgehogs and other creatures to get into, but they can be steep sided and very difficult to get out of.

If you’re creating a pond, ensure that you include a gradual slope into your pond.  If you have an existing pond with steep sides, don’t despair, you could use rocks, stones, and logs, to create bridges into the water to enable frogs, hedgehogs, and newts to safely visit your pond.

Sharing is my favourite part of life.  It’s lovely to be able to show you the wildlife I’ve spotted around my pond.  Here are my photographs….

Let me take you on a tour of my wildlife pond in spring and early summertime.

Before I zoom in with my close up photographs, I thought you might like to see a picture of my pond as a whole.  Narcissus ‘Lancaster’ and Narcissus poeticus var. recurvus are the two daffodils that are planted in the narrow border around the pond.  I chose these daffodils as they’re both beautifully scented with open flowers that are accessible to bees and butterflies.

I took this photograph on the 24th May 2020, Iris pseudacorus and Ranunculus aquatilis are in bloom in the pond. While ivy (Hedera helix) provides a lovely backdrop that’s good for insects and wildlife.

I’m growing a mixture of native and non-native plants in and around my pond.  I’ve focused on plants that are beneficial for insects to encourage and welcome as much wildlife as possible into my garden.  I’ve got a lovely Hedera helix (ivy) and Lonicera periclymenum (honeysuckle) which make a great feature at the back of the pond.  But my stark fence at the side of the pond, still makes me shudder!

I favour hedges and fences that are draped in an abundance of plant growth.  Last year, I planted a number of clematis in front of this fence; I purchased very small plants and apart from one (intentionally) low growing clematis species, they’ve yet to show themselves.  I also have a couple of grapevines growing in front of this fence, but again these are new plants that have yet to become established.

The weather over the past year has been particularly challenging for plants, with excessive rain over the autumn and winter months; followed by an extended drought and heatwave throughout spring.  We’re now in early summer and the hot weather shows no sign of relenting.

Bees

A male Early Bumble Bee (Bombus pratorum) pictured feeding from an Allium cristophii flower, on the 21st May 2020.

I am fascinated by bees!  It has been such a treat to see so many bees buzzing around the pond.  I often see bees and wasps drinking from the water in the shallow beach areas of the pond.  I’ve spotted very few bees on the aquatic plants; they’ve mainly been tending to the herbaceous perennials, Alliums, and the daffodils that are planted in the narrow border, around the pond.

A lovely bumble bee feeding from Valeriana officinalis flowers, as pictured on the 24th May 2020.

Valeriana officinalis is an utterly delightful plant.  I find it such a relaxing plant to have around; I’m so happy to have Valeriana officinalis growing in my garden.  This lovely perennial has a real charm and a lovely way about it but it is rather invasive – I would not suggest planting Valeriana officinalis in your garden if you’re not happy for it to spread throughout you garden and take care not to grow rampantly spreading plants like Valeriana officinalis if you live near a nature reserve.  Plus, Valeriana officinalis is incredibly popular with bees.

A lovely bumble bee feeding from an Allium cristophii flower, as pictured on the 26th May 2020.

Alliums are superb plants for bees!  Their flowers are quite mesmerising and their colours are intriguing; Allium flowers often appear metallic, they sparkle in the sunlight and are usually buzzing with bees.

A lovely bee feeding from an Allium cristophii flower, as pictured on the 26th May 2020.

I find Alliums attract a range of bee species.  Big bruiser bumble bees flock to Allium flowers, as do much smaller solitary bees, honeybees, and other medium sized bees.

A lovely bumble bee feeding from an Allium cristophii flower, as pictured on the 27th May 2020.

These Allium cristophii plants are growing in the front of the narrow border that surrounds my pond; they’re just planted along the front, in line with the path.  I’ve also got the Ox-eye daisy – Leucanthemum vulgare growing in this narrow border – as you can see, I’ve really packed the plants in!

When I’m choosing plants for my garden, I usually purchase a few young plants each year, but most of my plants are grown from seed or cuttings.  This is more cost effective, but it’s also such a wonderfully uplifting activity.  I love propagating plants, I enjoy every part of the process.

A lovely mini bee, pictured on a Leucanthemum vulgare flowers, near my pond. As seen on the 11th June 2020.

Leucanthemum vulgare is a hardy, perennial plant that will come back the following summer to decorate your garden with these gorgeous daisy flowers that attract bees, butterflies, hoverflies, and many other insects.  Leucanthemum vulgare plants add a relaxed, meadowy feel to the garden; their charming flowers look lovely in a vase.  If you deadhead your plants they’ll keep re-flowering.  I’ve cut my Leucanthemum vulgare plants back at least three times, so far this year.

I love growing plants for bees, butterflies, and hoverflies.  If you’re interested in growing plants for bees and other pollinating insects, I’ve got plenty of ideas to help you: here’s a link to an article I’ve written with recommendations of superb bee plants, you’ll find more ideas of fabulous plants for bees in this article, and even more suggestions of brilliant bee plants here!

I spotted this dear bee, laden with pollen as it was visiting the Leucanthemum vulgare flowers, growing alongside my pond. As seen on the 17th June 2020.

I love insects and growing plants for insects; are you interested in this topic?  These links will take you to all the articles I’ve written that mention pollinator friendly plants.  If you’re looking for container plants for bees, here’s a link to articles that mention suitable plants.  While if you’re more interested in growing container plants for butterflies, you’ll find articles I’ve written on this topic, via this link.

Not planting in containers?  This link will take you to articles I’ve written with ideas for plants for bees.  While this link will take you to articles with suggestions for butterfly friendly plants.

Beetles

I spotted this rather handsome Beetle taking a brisk walk down an Allium cristophii leaf, on the 23rd April 2020.

I’ve seen a few handsome and interesting beetles around my pond.  Look at this dashing fellow, he was almost too fast for me – I only managed to take this one picture.

I spotted this Cockchafer Beetle (Melolontha) near my pond, on the 27th April 2020.

This Cockchafter looks a lot like a lovely hazelnut!

A Harlequin Ladybird, pictured on a rose leaf, on the 2nd May 2020.

Ladybirds are insectivorous insects that feed on aphids.  I find Ladybirds all around my garden.  These two Ladybirds are Harlequin Ladybirds, a non-native form of Ladybird that have made their way to the UK and established themselves.

I’ve seen many people encouraging others to kill Harlequin Ladybirds.  I would not advise anyone to kill a Harlequin Ladybird.  I stand firmly on this, for many reasons.  Firstly, Harlequin Ladybirds look very similar to our native Ladybirds (UK Ladybird species come in many colours and sizes), so you may think you’re killing a Harlequin Ladybird but you may in fact be extinguishing the life of a vital, UK native Ladybird.  Secondly, there are so many Harlequin Ladybirds in the UK, that your actions will have no effect on the population in this country.

A Harlequin Ladybird, pictured on a Rhubarb leaf, on the 21st May 2020.

Ladybird larvae also hunt aphids.  These crocodile like larvae often startle or alarm folks that haven’t seen them before, but there’s nothing to be afraid of, Ladybird larvae won’t harm you.  It’s fascinating to watch them patrolling plants looking for aphids.

A Harlequin Ladybird Larvae pictured on a Leucanthemum vulgare flower, near my pond. As seen on the 5th June 2020.

Aphids are sap sucking insects, large infestations of aphids can weaken plants, but there’s no need to apply a treatment to control these insects, we have our very own controllers in the garden.  Ladybirds, Ladybird larvae, Lacewing larvae, hoverfly larvae, wasps, and birds, all feast on aphids and keep their numbers in check.

A Harlequin Ladybird Larvae pictured on a Teucrium hircanicum leaf. As seen on the 9th June 2020.

Bugs

A Dog Bug (Coreus marginatus) pictured on a Rhubarb leaf on the 16th June 2020.

I’ve seen a couple of Shield Bugs and this Dog Bug in the garden.

Butterflies

A Holly Blue Butterfly (Celastrina argiolus) pictured resting on a Rosa ‘Strawberry Hill’ leaf, on 2nd May 2020.

Although I’ve seen lots of bees and hoverflies, I’ve seen far fewer butterflies than usual this year, which is a great shame.  I just love watching butterflies; I fell hopelessly in love with butterflies when I was about two years old and I’ve been infatuated with them ever since.

I am concerned about the decline in our insects, including butterfly numbers.  Butterfly numbers naturally fluctuate from year to year, for a number of reasons, one of them is the weather.  Weather has a massive effect on butterflies, if we have a wet summer, butterflies need to spend more time sheltering from the rain and so they have less time to find food and secure a mate.

Each year, I grow plants specifically because they’re popular butterfly and caterpillar food plants.  I’ve expertly grown a huge patch of nettles fairly near to my pond, and I’ve cultivated a mix of native and non native plants that I’ve always found are very popular with butterflies.  Hopefully, I’ll see more butterflies, as the season progresses, fingers crossed.

Hoverflies

I spotted this hoverfly by the pond, on the 27th March 2020.

I’ve seen so many hoverflies buzzing and hovering around the pond!  It’s great to see these interesting creatures in the garden.  Many hoverflies resemble bees and wasps, as they have similar colourings and markings.  This wasp-bee camouflage helps to protect hoverflies from predators, who might mistake a hoverfly for a bee or wasp, and consequently then avoid the hoverfly, to protect themselves from the risk of being stung.

Mating hoverflies pictured on the underside of a Caltha palustris leaf, as seen on the 8th May 2020.

These hoverflies were positively glowing in the afternoon sunshine!

Many flies and other insects resemble bees. I spotted this one on the 28th May 2020.
I spotted this hoverfly feeding from a Ranunculus flammula flower in my pond, on the 14th June 2020.
A hoverfly (Eupeodes sp.) pictured resting under a Knautia arvensis leaf, as seen on the 17th June 2020.

Dragonflies and Damselflies

The Beautiful Demoiselle is an aptly named, strikingly beautiful damselfly. I’ve seen a number of males visiting my pond.

This year, I’ve spotted more Damselflies than Dragonflies visiting my pond.  The Damselfly I’ve seen most often is the Large Red Damselfly.

I’ve watched many Damselflies emerging from the water for the first time, which is so relaxing and uplifting to observe.

A Large Red Damselfly resting on a Rhubarb leaf by my pond, as pictured on the 2nd May 2020.
A Large Red Damselfly resting on a Marsh Marigold (Caltha palustris) flower that’s growing in my pond, as pictured on the 2nd May 2020.
A Large Red Damselfly resting on an Allium leaf by my pond, as pictured on the 2nd May 2020.
When Damselflies mate, one grips the other’s neck with the tip of its tail. I spotted this Damselfly, with just the tail still attached – I can only presume that its mate was snatched by a bird or something similar, leaving its partner’s tail permanently attached!
A Large Red Damselfly, pictured resting on the Valeriana officinalis growing alongside my pond, as pictured on the 25th May 2020.
A female Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly (also known by its scientific name of Libellula depressa), as pictured on the 28th May 2020.

I’ve spotted Broad-bodied Chasers a number of times, their wider body helps them to stand out.

A female Broad-bodied Chaser Dragonfly (also known by its scientific name of Libellula depressa), pictured flying across my pond, on the 28th May 2020.

European Rose Chafer

A European Rose Chafer pictured on a Leucanthemum vulgare flower, on the 9th June 2020.

The European Rose Chafer is as beautiful and magnificent as any prized jewel!  This absolute darling of a creature often buzzes around my garden, venturing from flower to flower, before taking off again and doing another loop of the garden.  Rose Chafers often circle me, rather like mini helicopters!  I love them!

A European Rose Chafer (Cetonia aurata) pictured feasting on Valeriana officinalis flowers, as seen on the 25th May 2020.

European Rose Chafers dine out on roses and other flowers.  The Rose Chafers in my garden tend to be rather fond of Leucanthemum vulgare as well as roses.  I adore these majestic and magnificent, yet rather clumsy beetles with their polished metallic armour.  It’s such a pleasure to see Rose Chafers; I positively offer up my roses, Leucanthemums, and all my other flowers to these gleaming beetles!

A European Rose Chafer resting on a waterlily leaf, as pictured on the 8th May 2020.

I was surprised to find this Rose Chafer venturing into my pond.  I think he was drawn to the Ranunculus aquatilis flowers.

This European Rose Chafer is bravely traipsing through the water to get to a waterlily leaf (these Ranunculus aquatilis leaves have formed a helpful bridge), as pictured on the 8th May 2020. on the 8th May 2020.

Flies

A Green Bottle Fly (Lucilia) pictured on a Teucrium hircanicum leaf. As seen on the 9th June 2020.

Many birds and other creatures feed on flies.  Flies are actually valuable pollinators that are more helpful to us and to our plants than many of us realise.  I’ve not noticed many flies in my garden, but I spotted this flashy green fellow recently and I thought you might like to see him.

Moths

Iron Prominent Moth (Notodonta dromedarius) pictured on the 24th April 2020.

I am slightly mad about moths!  I am unable to pass a tree trunk without looking to see if I can spot a moth camouflaged against the bark!  I’ve got a moth trap now, which helps me to see a wider range of these fascinating insects.  Some of the moths you can see here were caught in my moth trap (the moth trap was set up right next to the pond), while other moths I spotted near the pond without using the trap.

A Poplar Hawk Moth (Laothoe populi), as pictured on the 4th May 2020.

I love moths – I’m always looking out for them!  I grow plants like Ivy (Hedera helix) and Honeysuckle (Lonicera periclymenum) in my garden to support and encourage moths.

A Pale Tussock Moth (Calliteara pudibunda), as pictured on the 15th May 2020.
A Mint Moth (Pyrausta aurata) pictured feeding from an Allium cristophii flower, on the 21st May 2020.

This is a Mint Moth – a mini little moth that’s active in the daytime.  I see Mint Moths all the time in my garden.

A Treble Lines Moth (Charanyca trigrammicah) pictured near my pond, on the 29th May 2020.

This Treble Lines Moth is very well camouflaged in amongst the decaying leaves.

A Heart and Dart Moth (Agrotis exclamationis) pictured near my pond, on the 29th May 2020.
A Pine Hawk Moth (Sphinx pinastri) pictured near my pond, on the 2nd June 2020.
A Buff-tip Moth (Phalera bucephala) pictured near my pond, on the 2nd June 2020.

This is one of my favourite moths!  I am absolutely head over heels in love with the Buff-tip Moth; this is quite simply an extraordinary moth!  Resembling a twig, this adorable moth displays great camouflage, so it’s easy to miss!

A Buff-tip Moth (Phalera bucephala) pictured near my pond, on the 2nd June 2020.
Privet Hawk Moth (Sphinx ligustri), as pictured on the 2nd June 2020.
A Dark Arches Moth (also known by its scientific name of Apamea monoglypha) pictured resting on a log alongside my pond, on the 8th June 2020.
This is an Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor) that was found near my pond, as pictured on the 8th June 2020.

Here’s another of my favourite moths – the Elephant Hawk Moth – isn’t it beautiful?

Here’s a closer look at an Elephant Hawk Moth (Deilephila elpenor) that was found near my pond; look at its beautiful eyes! This moth was pictured on the 8th June 2020.

Newts

A Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) pictured in my pond on the 11th April 2020.

It has been so unbelievably exciting to see newts in our pond!  Sadly some of the excitement has been dashed, as we’ve found two injured newts this year – both newts had an identical injury, you can see one of the wounded newts in my picture below.

An injured Smooth Newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) pictured in my pond on the 11th April 2020.

We found these injured newts within a couple of weeks of each other – we know that one newt died, which was very sad.  I can only assume that a bird, a cat, or another creature, has pecked or swiped at the newts and injured them.  It was very upsetting to find the newts with such a terrible and painful injury.

Since I took this photograph in April 2020, I’ve only seen one newt in the pond – thankfully this was a seemingly healthy newt, with no injuries.  The water in my pond is heavily obscured by algae, which prevents me seeing into the water – so hopefully there are a lot more newts who are living happily in my pond and garden!

A closer look at this Smooth Newt’s injury (this newt is also known as the Common Newt or by its scientific name of Lissotriton vulgaris) pictured in my pond on the 11th April 2020.

Algae

Here’s an overview of my pond, as pictured on the 24th May 2020. In amongst the algae, I’m growing Ranunculus aquatilis, waterlilies, Caltha palustris, Menyanthes trifoliata, as well as some oxygenating plants.

To see my next update on the wildlife in my wildlife pond, please click here.

There’s a phenomenal amount of algae in my pond.  I’ve written a separate article about algae – here’s a link.

If you’re interested in my wildlife pond, you can find all of the articles about my wildlife pond via this link here.

For lots of tips and advice on creating a successful wildflower meadow, please click here.

For ideas of lovely things that you can do in your garden from mid June to mid July, please click here.

For tips and ideas on how you can help hedgehogs, please click here.

Other articles you might like:

One thought on “Wildlife in my Wildlife Pond

  1. Anne

    June 19, 2020 at 4:31pm

    These are wonderful photos! Can you tell me what camera you use?

    • Author

      Pumpkin Beth

      June 19, 2020 at 5:05pm

      Hello Anne, I have an Olympus OMD-EM5 Mk2, and the lens I use for most of these photos is the Olympus f2.8 60mm Macro lens. Best wishes, Beth

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