Life cycles

Amazing Water Stick Insect

As promised in my last post, ‘Wildlife Afternoon on the Reserve’ this post focuses on the amazing water stick insect that we found last Sunday. The Water Stick Insect looks remarkably like its terrestrial namesake but they are not closely related. In fact that are closely related to another fascinating pond inhabitant the water scorpion. [...]

Water boatman

Some fascinating views today of greater water boatman right in front of the underwater cam in the Leighside pond. There appeared to be two greater water boatman, also called backswimmers. On two occasions that I saw, one of the water boatman swam over and grabbed the other, this could have been an attempt at courtship. The [...]

Moorhen Family

There is a lot of moorhen activity on the nature reserve, especially in the Winterbourne Stream and Leighside Pond in the woodland. Last year we were able to follow the daily life of a moorhen family through ditch cam we observed them from tiny newly hatched fluffy chicks until they were old enough to look after [...]

Dragonflies and Damselflies

We have been seeing a lot of adult dragonflies and damselflies on the reserve - especially around the pond and I have seen occasional sightings through the ditch cam. Damselflies and dragonflies belong to the same group of insects and share the same general features. There are several things you can look for to help you [...]

Amazing Hydra on pond cam

Today we added a new pond creature to our list of animals observed through the webcams. Attached to the housing of our pond cam Paul spotted a beautiful green and rather amazing Hydra. On the screen it looks huge but it’s only about a cm in length. Paul has changed the focus of the camera [...]

Fish Eggs and Fry

During the school visit pond dipping sessions two schools accidentally caught fish eggs. Adult fish, such as Rudd, often lay their eggs in a clump which sticks to a rock or similar object. It looks like a few fish thought that the wooden structure beneath the pond dipping platform was a safe place to lay [...]

Mosquito gnats and non-biting midges

There are many types of flying insects that lay their eggs in ponds and other freshwater habitats. These include mosquitos, gnats and non-biting midges. The eggs hatch and develop into free swimming, some of which we discovered during our pond dipping sessions. In fact one midge larva actually became a flying adult in one of [...]

Dragonfly and Damselfly Nymphs – Beauty and the Beast

The beautiful and spectacular dragonflies and damselflies that add a splash of colour to our ponds and ditches in the summer spend most of their lives underwater as a dull brown or greenish nymphs (larva). Why do you think that the nymphs are such a dull colour? We have many damselfly nymphs during the RLL [...]

Warbler migration

Two species of warbler return to the heart of reeds each year, the reed warbler and the white throat. REED WARBLER  The reed warblers have now returned in the Heart of Reeds where they will nest. Their arrival on the reserve follows a long migration as the warblers fly to the UK from their winter [...]

Snail eggs

Starting in the spring, small blobs of jelly appear on the underside of many of the pond plants. These are the small egg masses of pond snails and a careful examination under a microscope may reveal the tiny snail embryos. The eggs hatch within a few days and tiny snails with almost transparent [...]