Thursday, March 16, 2006
Wednesday, March 15, 2006
This is from my pond, or more precisely, one of the tubs holding water plants next to the pond. To get into the tub required a jump of 18 inches vertical.
When I (with the considerable help of friends who like ponds!) dug the pond 3 years ago, I placed about 6 comets into it along with some water lily planrs, submerged plants, and edge plants like horsetail (equisetum, my favorite pond plant). No tadpoles were put into the pond. My house is about 200 feet from, and 30 feet elevation above, a stream that runs into the nearby reservoir. I had frogs in the pond within 2 months of finishing and filling it. Since that time 4 years ago I have seen bronze frogs, toad tadpoles (thousands), and bullfrogs. 2 years ago I had a fairly good sized snapping turtle in there. (HE was promptly relocated to the reservoir as he would have quickly depleted the pond of fish. I had to drain the pond 2/3 before I could find him and I was not willing to wade around to find him). I had been doing some yard work and had left my gate open over the course of a couple of nights. Within a day I noticed a distinct lack of fish and realized there was probably something spooking them into hiding. I had Common Brown Water Snakes visit my pond when I lived in Annapolis and had seen a similar sudden change in fish behavior. Those too were quickly relocated and they were really hard to catch! I was never able to see any sign of a visitor when I was outside so I spent 15 minutes standing at my bedroom window, which overlooks the pond, when just as I suspected a large turtle head broke the surface of the pond.
The snapper was a bit less agile than the snakes though he defintitely required a more cautious 'grab' since he was a hefty guy (he did not fit flat on the bottom of a 5 gallon paint tub).
There is far more night life around us than we can imagine. This turtle found the pond during a stroll up from the ravine away from water. Did he smell easy pickin's? Maybe Carel knows. Maybe he knows the frog specie too. Brownish back,greenish cream underside.