Life cycles

The humble Stickleback

We have been seeing some very interesting views of sticklebacks through pond cam and Heart of Reeds cam. Sticklebacks are very hardy little fish that are often found in ponds and ditches. There are two different types on the reserve, three-spined stickleback and the less common ten-spined stickle back. The three-spined stickleback is the most common species [...]

Life in a drop of water

Pond cam has being providing views of how rich the life is in the woodland pond. Some of the pond life is quite large, such as the fish and the newts. But some of it is very tiny, too small to see in detail but you can see lots of tiny creatures swimming in front of [...]

Common freshwater eels and their migration

In the autumn last year, adult common eels migrated down the river Ouse and other Sussex rivers to the sea. Their return to the sea was the first stage of a very long migration when thousands of common eels swim to the Sargasso Sea where they are believed to breed. The adult eels live in [...]

Frog or toad?

Frogs and toads look quite similar so here are a few tips, to help you tell the differences between a common frog and a common toad.             Firstly, the skin of a frog is quite smooth while toads have bumpy ‘warty’ skin. A frog’s skin also appears wet and slimy [...]

Common frogs return to the ponds and ditches

One of the big wildlife events of the year in the ponds and ditches is the arrival of common frogs, following their winter hibernation. Frogs spend most of their life on land, but when they awaken from hibernation they feed and then head off to the pond and ditches to mate. The frogs feed using [...]

Awakening from hibernation

Many animals awaken from hibernation in March and so as we start April many of the animals are out and about. Newts, which have hibernated away from the ponds and ditches, will now be active. They will slowly make their way back to water, but its slow progress. On land newts look like lizards, but their movements are [...]

Pond bursts into life

You may have noticed through our pond cam that there are lots of tiny creatures swimming about. Most of these are tiny freshwater crustaceans called daphnia and cyclops. These tiny creatures are very important as they are food for many of the fish, newts and other animals that live in pond. As the pond water [...]

Moorhen courtship

We have been seeing some exciting behaviour through ditch cam the last few days. The moorhen that live in the ditches are preparing to nest. Before this happens the males tend to squabble and chase each other around in the hope of impressing the females. You can see this in the school video library clips [...]

Surprise view of palmate newts

The underwater webcam on the Leighside pond has shown that newts are already in the pond. Newts usually return to the pond in the spring. They hibernate away from the ponds and ditches in the winter but they are active already. Why do you think this might be? Firstly we have had a mild winter so far. [...]

Bumble bee and dragonfly

During a walk around the reserve yesterday I was surprised to see that a large dragonfly, possibly a faded southern hawker (it did not settle so not definite ID.) was actively flying back and forth near the Winterbourne stream. Adult dragonflies usually have a short life compared to their nymph that live beneath the surface of [...]