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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Sat Jan 12, 2019 9:15 pm

The climate would seem to be a lot milder in Trefnant than it is in Mynydd Isa, the daffs here are a long way off flowering.

After it being on my to-do list for a while I finally got around to cleaning out my little wildlife pond. I scooped out enough leaves, windfall apples and pears etc. to fill 3 number 35litre tubs. The water was minging so I ended up pumping the water to waste and refilling by syphoning water from the koi pond. I returned two fat frogs to the water so maybe this year they'll have a nice clean pond to spawn in.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Jan 13, 2019 4:33 pm

Good to hear you still have healthy frogs Colin, I read last week that they are now down by 70%, that's a serious decline. I have fished two more live frogs out of my Nexus in the past week, they get into bottom drain in pond to overwinter then get pulled/flushed up 4" pipe and into Nexus.
I noticed yesterday that the witch hazel bush (Hamamelis) at the back of my pond is now in full perfumed flower and also a Japanese quince in the top shrubbery has bright orangey red flowers on it, mind you, despite this very mild weather we've enjoyed here since Christmas, there's still plenty of time for lots of snow though!
We have a cock pheasant regularly come in our garden since we re-started the bird feeding in autumn, he has a particularly wide white collar so is easily recognised, one day last week he fed for a couple of hours under feeders then flew up to the top of our wooden arbour seat, sat down, tucked his head under his wing:
and fell asleep!
How relaxed was that!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Thu Jan 17, 2019 9:12 pm

I've started demolishing the small pond in my back yard and when I pumped the water out what did I find in the few inches of water left in the bottom but two small koi around 6 and 8 inches long. Both were very dark like common carp which is why I've never seen them but they've survived for two years with no filtration and been living off the natural bugs and grubs you get in a natural pond. They are now residing in my growing on tank in the shed.

Yesterday as I was breaking out the back wall I disturbed about 15 very small frogs hibernating in the gravel between the pond wall and the garden wall. These were obviously some of last years tadpoles and have all been transferred to my newly cleaned out wildlife pond, hopefully to survive the winter.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Jan 25, 2019 6:55 pm

The two koi sound like born survivors Colin, got to keep them I think, if not I'm sure Allan will take them off your hands.
I found a similar survivor last autumn (October) cleaning out my veg filter after it got clogged, an eft newt still with gills was in the detritus, it must have had arrested development!
Here's a picture of one at a similar size and stage of development taken from my overflow pond in summer of 2015, you can clearly see the feathery external gills.

The big garden birdwatch starts tomorrow so I'm set up with scope, camera, binoculars, notepad and pen: -plus bird identity book and full bird feeders.
We have again had some more unusual birds of late here in North East Wales, the Daily Post yesterday posted reports of a Rose coloured Starling at feeders in Victoria St, Llandudno and not a stones throw away at Llanrwst Conwy Valley, a small flock of Hawfinches, I'll bet they're from Bodnant.
I'm now sure we have Bullfinches established here in our valley as well, I've seen a male in our garden last year and Nigel told me yesterday he had a female positively identified at his feeders just recently, also a Bullfinch has been reported spotted in Tremeirchion several times.
We also have had an increasingly rare winter visitor recently, a small flock of starlings daily at our feeders this last three weeks, along with another occasional visitor, a pair of Jays, they are colourful but very wary birds and don't hang around long.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Jan 31, 2019 7:14 pm

The snow we are enjoying at the moment should have come a few days earlier, over the weekend when we had our RSPB garden bird count. We have had a lot more birds over the past three days of snow and freezing conditions, particularly Tuesdays heavy snow.
We had a small flock of Long Tailed Tits visit over yesterday but they are near impossible to count due to their constantly flitting about, I managed a conservative 11, the bigger flock of Goldfinches were much more accommodating, they flew into next doors very large birch tree were I counted 33, then they flew down in groups to snack at our feeders. I was surprised to see a solitary Brambling amongst the flock, it stayed behind when the Goldfinches moved on and today it was in with a flock of about 15 Chaffinches. It actually looks like a stocky chaffinch but with orange not pink breast feathers and the head is speckled black (in winter) not mid to light grey like the chaffinch.
Pictured below is one of the local residents who never turned up during the bird count! The snow was melting away late afternoon on Tuesday when the pheasant turned up. One of two who never fail to turn up every day, hail rain or shine is our local Woodpeckers, I think this might be the female?
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Feb 04, 2019 12:10 pm

I took a photo of my koi last Friday during the recent cold snap, all 14 clamped down on the bottom in the deep end of my pond, the water is five foot four inches here. The water is in typical winter condition, as clear as tap water!
The white spots are hundreds of tiny scales from shrubs behind and the reflexion of foliage in the water to right of pic is one of my evergreen bay trees.
The koi all appear to be in excellent condition considering they have not been fed since late November.
Nevertheless, my Nexus filter still has to be unclogged/flushed once a week on average.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Mon Feb 04, 2019 8:39 pm

I haven't fed my koi for a month and like you, I've got crystal clear water although my koi are residing in 15C water so they are not shivering on the bottom.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Feb 13, 2019 5:46 pm

They're back!
Due in part to the unusually mild weather of last few days I flushed my koi pond filter on Monday and found four frogs in the bottom of chamber, two coupled in plexus. They have been moved into small wildlife pond but I'll bet they're back!

I noticed that the dreaded blanket weed is also back with a vengeance and rapidly developing in and around the sides of my Koi pond, triggered by this mild sunny weather of late.
I've ordered some more Cloverleaf Blanket Answer to dose pond with as in the crystal clear water of my Koi pond I can see my bottom drain cover has a thick furry green coat on!
Cloverleaf is the only product I find is safe to use with my Rudd and that it actually works extremely well.
One thing I did find is you really have to shop around on the internet as the prices wildly fluctuate; --You can pay anything from £13.99 to £22.00 for a 800g tub.
I bought a 2kgs tub plus a free XL Absolute Pearls clear water treatment thrown in for just £25.85 plus free postage.
The weather needs to warm up slightly more before it works efficiently though, 10C and above is recommended working temperature, usually early March on a warm but cloudy day.
I take the advice in the use of their product from the Cloverleaf site for the safety of my Golden Rudd, this goes for all other river fish: Orfe, Roach, Sturgeon etc.
You measure full dosage out dry then use half recommended dosage and use other half 3 days later.
It is most important that the water is constantly aerated/oxygenated throughout blanket weed treatment with air stones and pond filter; --you can see it actually killing blanket weed after the first 3 days!
The down side to this is the large amounts of dead blanket weed that breaks free and chokes up the Nexus, so, constant filter monitoring is called for and also scooping weed out with a net for a few days.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Feb 22, 2019 12:03 pm

The frog chorus continues this week and gathering momentum, they are now croaking right through these mild nights.
Most nights we let our dog out for a last pee about 11:00pm and you can still hear them, they're still at it unabated as I type this morning but still no frogspawn.
I fished 8 out of the filter yesterday and a further 11 netted out of my Koi pond, both singles and doubles. The good news for them is I have managed to flush out both wildlife ponds ready for the annual amphibian invasion.
The pond at the bottom of the garden a few weeks ago was in a dreadful state with rotted tree leaves, vegetation and 6 dead frogs so I pumped it out flushed it thoroughly with hose then refilled it.
This morning I noticed it is reasonably clear and no longer smells and now has quite a few frogs splashing about over last few days.

Five minutes to seven this morning we saw the most beautiful sunrise through the tall trees at the back of us, the sun rising behind low fluffy clouds between the Clwydian hills of Moel-Y-Parc and Penycloddiau, it was reminiscent of a Turner painting.

Another annoying incident repeated from this time last year is on Monday morning I noticed my waterfall into Koi pond had stopped, I went down to filter house to check and discovered everything was still working but external Oase pump pulling water from Nexus to pond through veg filter and waterfall. Suspecting pump had either packed up or impeller in pump had a foreign object in, I switched all electrics off and removed 2" pipework to pump and examined pump. As suspected the impellor in pump was jammed solid with a mangled frog wound around it. What an unpleasant job! pulling the frog out bit by bit with a pair of snipe nosed pliers. This time I have put a piece of plastic mesh over exit pipe from Nexus to prevent any further suicidal frogs going through.

"Fame at last", -our much loved Denbigh Plum now has official brand recognition as the only Welsh plum, or to give it it's correct title:
'The Vale Of Clwyd Denbigh Plum'
It made the front page of the 'Denbigh Free Press' and the BBC Welsh news this week!
I now have two further converts to the Denbigh plum as yesterday I gave a couple we met from Rhyl a bag of very rare frozen Denbigh plums from last year, I say rare because I apparently was one of the very few who had a crop of Denbigh plums after 'The Beast from the East' scoured through, then lingered last spring.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Feb 26, 2019 5:45 pm

I checked over my wildlife ponds on Sunday morning and the frogspawn has arrived, quite a bit in the overflow pond but none as yet in bottom pond. The filter still gets 6 or 8 removed every day and copulating toads have now started to arrive, very early, both in the filter and pond, they have joined the frogs in their continuous daily chorus.
See pic below of some enjoying a soft bouncy bed of blanket weed in my Koi pond on Sunday prior to removal.

Lunchtime today was so warm I was sitting outside in the glorious sunshine, whip and tongue grafting a few cherry and plum trees and listening to the frogs croaking fit to bust.
See pic below of the pretty pink flowers on the Russian dwarfing plum rootstocks Krymsk or VVA.1 that I bought last year to graft the Denbigh plum onto, shame really I had to cut them off this morning when grafting.
The Denbigh plum is extremely vigorous on its traditional rootstock of St Julien A as I discovered so, grafted onto this rootstock it can be grown in a small garden or tub, another big benefit is it is also much quicker to fruit than SJA, just 2 years as opposed to 4/5 years!
My peaches in the greenhouse in full pink blossom this week have a steady stream of bees through the open doors as does my early apricot, protected under the fibreglass canopy of the pergola. Today its a mass of white blossom, the drone of the bees coming and going just about audible over the frogs.
So good to see so many bees in February after last year's freeze, I noticed beside the honey bees and bumble bees pollinating there were also several hover flies and those curious bluebottle sized black and yellow bee imitator flies busy on my apricot flowers, signs of a good crop.
Lots to do garden-wise in these record breaking warm still days of late Feb: ---18c here at 1:00pm three days on the trot.
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Krymsk VVA.1.jpg
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