Our maintenance day at the Lagoon produced some encouraging surprises. The surge in the variety of wildlife continues, so far including six species of dragonfly including the Emperor, the UK's largest.
There has also been considerable pond plant growth in the warm weather, especially the oxygenating hornwort which is spreading throughout the length and breadth of the water. While pond dipping and reducing the inevitable duck and blanket weed, we discovered two young newts in the larval stage of development, probably the offspring of the adults we observed earlier this year.
Then we were amazed to see a bat circling the Lagoon, skimming over our heads and the water surface. And this was around midday in full sun, an unusual time for these creatures to be on the wing. We managed to get some low-res pics from video stills and, as you can see below, it looks like a fairly large bat, but which species? Suggestions welcome!
We are continuing to add to the planting at the Lagoon, with wildflower seeding on both the flatter parts outside the fence and on the steep chalk banks. Besides a mix of general wildflowers we have also sown pockets of Basil Thyme (Clinopodium acinos) a threatened species belonging to the dead nettle family. Many thanks to Peter Wakeham for providing this and other useful seeds. Yesterday we sowed some marginal native pond plants around the bare parts of the pond edge, with more planned in the next few weeks.
Pics and text: Graham Kenward
The young newts have external gills which will disappear when they become old enough to leave the water.
Going in to bat: let us know if you know the species ...
We are a self-funded group of volunteers looking after our local countryside in Banstead Wood and Chipstead Valley. We extend a warm welcome to those who would like to help maintain this important green space for the benefit of everyone. Here you will find details of WoodChips weekly tasks and activities. Check back soon to see what we're up to!