Friday, 16 March 2012

Pond life - some welcome, some not

pond-side fern
We have a frog pond. Some years ago now, we dug a big hole, lined it with pond liner (a thick durable black plastic),  placed sandstone rocks around the edges, filled it with water, added some aquatic plants got a small container with taddies in it from our local nursery and populated the pond.

moss and lichen
Over time the pond has 'gone native'. Now it looks as though it has always been there.  It has some great clumps of moss and lichen, the native violets are sprawling down to the edges of the pond, some ferns that grow in the front brick fence have been transplanted to the pond side and have taken.  It looks amazing.

We have had generations of tadpoles now and in summer the 'plonk' of amorous frogs fills the evening air.

This year - a La Nina - the frogs have been extra amorous and we probably have more tadpoles in the pond than ever. Our frogs are striped marsh frogs.

Native violets - Viola hederacea
We also have become a breeding  pond for dragonflies. We get red and blue dragonflies breeding here. They lay their eggs on the surface of the water in a skipping sort of  fashion, and eventually strange long aquatic cicada-like  nymphs can be seen scooting thru the pond.  Then, much like cicadas, they crawl out of the pond onto the pond plants, their shell splits and a baby dragon fly emerges, for a while sitting beside its old shell stretching its wings in the sun so they dry out.

Today, I visited the pond for a bit of therapeutic pond staring, and what did I see?  New pond life!  With its characteristic mode of movement, I new exactly what it was immediately.  A leech.

amorous striped marsh frogs in the pond
Hmmm, should I feel proud that I have created an ecosystem? Or annoyed that I will not be able to go to the pond in a relaxed and comfortable mood?  Unfortunately by the time I went back inside to get the camera it had disappeared.  Perhaps slipped into the pond to wait for its prey? You'll just have to believe me... you don't want to see a picture anyway do you?

Suddenly a whole lot of scenarios filled my head.Will the frogs or the dragonfly nymphs eat leeches? Or will my frogs suffer from leech bites? Will I have to search my cat's nostrils for leeches? Apparently that is where dogs and cats often get a leech.  That would be horrible. Will El Nino deal with them? If so, bring on the next drought! I will have to do some research.

I did hear the other day on the radio that Sydney is having a leech plague at the moment because of the very wet summer.  Does anyone else share my unwelcomed  pond life?


  1. Leeches are everywhere, be happy for a healthy ecosystem. I love the amorous frog shot. Not looking forward to the next drought, give me a leech anytime.

  2. Yeh, you are probably right. I must say that the ecosystem is precisely what I was after when I planted the non-veg section of the garden entirely in local plants - not just native ones but ones native to this particular part of Sydney. I guess I just didnt think that leeches might come in the package!

    I love my frogs, apparently they are real locals too!



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