Spring is nearly here!

Advice on Koi,Ponds and Equipment
pollygog
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by pollygog »

Any unusual birds spotted in last weekends RSPB bird count?

We had two Bald Eagles fighting over the carcase of a dead Griffon Vulture when suddenly an enormous Eagle Owl swooped down and killed and carried one eagle off, the other Bald Eagle then flew off with the dead vulture, pursued by a small flock of Ravens; but that was on Friday so it couldn't count!

We managed to get down to the Elwy this week and despite the abnormally high river levels that swept away sections of the banks around the 21st January, there are thousands of snowdrops in flower right along the tops of the banks. So upliftingly pleasant to see them, though a lot have been swept away or covered in flotsam.
The very large Myrobalan plum tree (cherry plum) has just started to flower at the back of The Common, just a few tiny white flowers bravely peeking out in this bitterly cold morning but in a couple of weeks, hopefully it will be a beautiful froth of white.
Here is a picture I took of the same tree in flower on The Common some four years ago.
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Myrobalan or native wild plum in flower St Asaph 2017.jpg
Myrobalan or native wild plum in flower St Asaph 2017.jpg (131.23 KiB) Viewed 4033 times
pollygog
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by pollygog »

The heavy frost over the last few nights has made walking down by the river Elwy a lot easier now the mud is frozen solid,
The two Missel Thrushes on either side of the river singing their hearts out was pleasant to hear yesterday morning and I got another view of one this lunch time when we got back from our walk.
A Missel Thrush, quite a rare visiter, particularly to our house end of the garden, landed on our garden swing frame, sang a couple of notes then dived down into our shrubbery to the ground feeder hidden in there under the bushes.
We put it there, which is close to the back of the house, for the Sparrows,Robins, Wrens and Hedge Accentors that regularly feed there on suet pellets and meal worms.

My Koi pond over the last few weeks has developed the most luxuriant coat of blanket weed! I suppose this is the bonus of gallons of unrelenting heavy rainwater over the last few months full of nutrients, this along with unseasonably mild weather has led to the bloom. Anyone out there need any?
I collect the longer strands on a wooden roofing batten at present and put the clumps on my fruit trees in pots as a weed suppressant before it rots down.
I'm loathe to remove it from the pond in the winter months as it feeds on nutrients so until it starts clogging my filter, I will leave it as long as possible before giving it treatment, possibly end of next month or April?
pollygog
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by pollygog »

I had to grasp the nettle today and treat my pond with Oase blanket weed treatment, the trails of weed were blocking my filter too often so out it came.
The Catch 22 situation over this last warm period was it made the algae bloom but, it was warm enough for treatment to work.
Now it's flushing my filter every day as weed dies and breaks off sides and bottom to be pulled through bottom drain to Nexus.
I mentioned before about Nexus being poor at coping with leaves or large detritus like blanket weed and just blocks too readily, it really is hard work in this situation!
First frogspawn spotted today but it looks to be a couple of days old as it's quite swelled and large, about four lots.
Meanwhile I remove them from my filter on a daily basis, including coupled pairs swirling around in the K1 medium in outer chamber..
roselanekoi
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by roselanekoi »

Spring is obviously a few weeks behind Trefnant in Mold, I've just noticed my first frogspawn this morning plus the daffodils have only just made it out by St Davids Day on March the first. One advantage of the recent cold weather is the snowdrops seem to have been in bloom for a long time this year.
pollygog
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by pollygog »

With going out to check my filter twice a day this week I can appreciate the frog chorus first hand. They're at it croaking 24/7 and now we have not only frogspawn in two wildlife ponds but also in my by-passed veg filter and also in the Nexus again.

My Koi pond is back to crystal clear but now minus the blanket weed, problem here is, with very little rain over past few weeks and flushing my filter out regularly my pond water level dropped, so, out came the hose--- and with it more nutrients to feed more blanket weed:- Catch 22!
You win some!
pollygog
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by pollygog »

The time of the frogfest is nearly over and this year is another bonus year as we are overwhelmed again with frogspawn.
The sad thing about that is last night I went out on a really mild night about ten when I heard croaking and discovered the toads have now turned up on cue but theres no room once again for their spawn.
Both wildlife ponds are pretty much full; as is my by-passed veg filter.
I/we found 5 single toads and a couple locked in plexus, these were on the path alongside my Koi pond.
Also on cue where the newts, two Palmate newts by small overflow pond and one female Great Crested which was at the entrance to my greenhouse, close by was a small third Palmate newt which I think the big female newt had just lined up for supper!
I moved small newt to bottom pond so BF can concentrate on eating slugs.
It's good to see so many amphibians out and about though and as its the Spring Equinox, officially it's Spring today so enjoy! :D :D :D :D
pollygog
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Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by pollygog »

This is possibly the same Great Crested Newt I found on Saturday night. I took pic after I'd moved it to a safer place on rockery, I'd found it in a hollow in soil under a large pot in my greenhouse. It's a whopper, around six inches long and looks well fed!
This was on the Sunday morning; it was hunkered down with a toad!
It gets quite warm in greenhouse lately so my watering has been increased quite dramatically to keep the dreaded red spider away.
I think this extra damping down of greenhouse floor attracted the amphibians to there as there were two adult frogs under a big clump of Babies Tears, it's a creeping plant with tiny bright green leaves that grows rampant in the soil verges.
Every so often I rip a pile out to keep it under some control.
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GC Newt 20th March.jpg
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pollygog
Posts: 615
Joined: Mon Jan 19, 2009 6:26 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by pollygog »

Spot on with my prediction of plum trees flowering, these are the trees I planted to pollinate my Denbigh plum tree.
They're fully out today on the Victoria plum and on the other trees, worryingly few bees or hover flies about as yet though, this cold snap is the cause, see picture.
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Four pollination partners for Denbigh plum tree.jpg
Four pollination partners for Denbigh plum tree.jpg (82.81 KiB) Viewed 3448 times
roselanekoi
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by roselanekoi »

My own Denbigh plum is also laden with blossom this year as are the three nearby plum trees planted to aid pollination.

plum blossom.jpg
plum blossom.jpg (134.02 KiB) Viewed 3372 times

Not planted in the most photogenic of locations but it does seem to be growing OK since it was planted in 2015. I've also noticed there are not many insects about at present and are worried about some of the overnight frosts we've been having lately.
roselanekoi
Posts: 293
Joined: Thu Feb 14, 2008 7:38 pm

Re: Spring is nearly here!

Post by roselanekoi »

I've just paid my first visit of the year to Bodnant Gardens. I never realised that there were so many varieties of magnolia before and such a variety of flower types and colours, and they were all in flower. The rhododendrons should be flowering in a few weeks time although I missed the best of the daffodils. Here's a picture of one of the magnolias in full flower.

magnolia.jpg
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