Flanders Moss NNR
This weekend is the anniversary of British Dragonfly Societies’ Pond Watch: an event born out of the 2020 lockdown as a way to bring the wonderful world of ponds to those unable to visit one. This year, we are celebrating the anniversary of this event over the full weekend, and with all the wonderful weather we’ve been having, our pond at Flanders has been alive with activity!
Four spotted chasers dance above the water, rest on the rushes and have even been spotted dipping their tails into the water to lay their eggs. A great diving beetle has been observed rising to take a breath before disappearing down into the deep. Countless palmate newts and their tadpoles wiggle underwater. Water boatmen and pond skaters flit about on the surface.
When passing this pond, it is well worth pausing to see what’s about, and we’ve been taking the time to do a bit of pond dipping when the opportunity arises.
Our most commonly sighted amphibian at the moment is the palmate newt. This little fella is looking a bit worse for wear with his stubby little tail – but did you know that, like lizards, they have the power to re-grow not just their tails, but their legs too!? You can tell this is a male by his large, webbed hind legs, which females do not possess.
We were able to catch one of the great diving beetles while pond dipping, and get a really close look at this giant pond predator. You can identify it as the great diving beetle by the clear yellow border all round the edge of it’s body, as well as sheer size. I wouldn’t want to be a little bug up against this monster-beetle that’s for sure!
This is a dragon fly exuviae, or exoskeleton. Dragonflies spend much of their life living underwater as nymphs. During each growth stage they increase in size to what you see here, and sometimes even larger! Once springtime arrives they leave the water to undergo their final transformation, shedding this layer and emerging as adults. Ellie has spotted three exuviae around the Flanders pond so far, so keep your eyes peeled!
The closer you look, the more you see. Ponds support such a diverse array of wildlife and provide a fantastic opportunity to get up close to nature. Here is just a little one minute clip to provide you with a Flanders-eye-view this Pond Watch weekend. Can you spot the dragonflies?
It is good to know how well the pond has developed.
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