Having been a bit distracted of late with the baby badger and other things, we haven’t been spending any time in the hide seeing how things have been developing.
The main view out of the hide is of the new pond
This is the second pond we have dug in the meadow. The first one we lined with soil and planted up with native British water plants and it instantly looked fantastic. But this second pond we have registered with the Freshwater Habitats Trust as part of their Million Ponds Project – ponds in this project need to have a clean, unpolluted water source, be left to colonise naturally with no plants or animals added and left to thrive without undue disturbance (…no dog swimming allowed almost certainly). As such, we are having to be patient and wait for this pond to mature in its own good time. We have done what we can by making loads of crevices and creating shallow areas for things to easily come and go, but it remains looking a bit stark and new and the water has gone green because it is not yet in balance. The Freshwater Habitats Trust say that this way there is more time to enjoy each stage of colonisation and that we should embrace that.
Today we spent an hour in the hide seeing how things were getting along and the answer is: well, not too badly really. In that time we saw 12 species of bird:
At the other end of the pond, we have a bird feeder and Peanut Cam – a trap camera set up to take pictures of the patch of grass where we put peanuts down each evening.
Each night we get several badger visits and we are trying to work out what time they come so that we can be in the hide but currently their timing is very erratic. There are also up to three foxes who arrive and spend an awfully long time munching – the badger visits are always much more fleeting.
If there are peanuts still down when it is light, we also get photos of birds enjoying the nuts:
Inside the hide, we have been making it more comfortable. It is now fully insulated with opening windows:
And we have installed some solar power
It feels like this project is still at an early stage. The vegetation needs to grow up around the pond and also in the pond as a base upon which a whole ecosystem will balance itself – but today was a very encouraging start and it is already a very relaxing way to spend an hour quietly observing.