Recently after a lovely tweet exchange on social media about the benefits of #ForestBathing, I thought I better give it a go in the garden. It’s been pretty cold in the UK hasn’t it? Not exactly optimum conditions for this, especially in the early morning frosty air. This was never likely to be that relaxing!
Still, I decided to stand under the largest tree at the end of the garden, a large silver birch, hoping for some phytoncide fall out (a good relaxing thing, these natural mood enhancing chemicals that trees release or so I’ve heard. It makes sense, when you think how calming sitting under a tree actually is).
Soon my attention was caught by one lonely if busy Bluetit, who appeared to be eating something on the branch furthest away from me. It could have been buds, or bugs on the buds this tree not yet being in leaf. (Another reason why hoping for phytoncides was perhaps a little ambitious on my part?)
Next thing I knew, this Bluetit had apparently had enough of me looking up (although I do my best to feed them all year round of course) and so took up a position on the branch right over my head – and – wait for it – yes – pooped right above me! I saw it! Luckily, or unluckily, depending on your point of view, the poop missed. But it sure taught me a lesson! Or rather that little tiny bird did!
Later this week another bird, or pair rather, of very fine Mallards had a similar, if more quandry inducing effect. The female arrived first and promptly climbed into my original square pond which was made 3 years ago, inside the walls built for a water feature, that’s long since been dismantled. She made herself quite at home.
I was worried however, since I’m now convinced the Newts had been mating there previously and now I realise they could have laid eggs in the pond weed. (Although it didn’t have leaves as such, the fronds would have been shelter enough). On close inspection once the duck got out, there’s not much weed left- Oh NO!
Then she made a move on the lavender bed – OK – and then I realised the Drake was around too! Actually sitting on the high fence and watching proceedings. She wanted to climb in the new pond, I tried to head her off (to protect the tadpoles in there). But he got in as well! What a mess they made of my carefully selected pond plants. Again! I now know they must have been the culprits the first time I came home to shredded and overturned pond plant pots and general mayhem / mudded waters….
Now here’s the thing – the dilemma. Do Ducks count as wildlife? Of course! who is the pond for? All wildlife to use – or that was the dream. Hedgehogs, foxes, ducks??? Well I can tell you that their making a meal, a quick ducky dinner of my prize (oxygenating) pond weed did not over balance my need to protect the little things living in the pond, the tadpoles.
Next thing I was shooing them away, by distracting them with bits of bread – how naughty! And quickly laying down a large-ish sheet of wire square netting that handily I had lying at the back of the shed! That will stay in place til they fledge, or whatever it’s called that tadpoles do – namely turn into the cutest tiniest of little frogs, hopefully, after a long, long summer! It’s only mid April now…