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Robyn's Pond Newsletter February 2006

Last Updated: 2/5/14

Introduction and Miscellaneous:

If you have something pond-related that you want to share (information, jokes, web sites, pond secrets and tidbits, something pond-related for sale), let me know, and I will add it to the next newsletter. What topics would you like me to cover? Do you have a question that I can answer or pose to others in the next newsletter?

Because I don't have enough work to do, a relative foisted a hapless, neglected bunny on me. You can read about Harry at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/rabbits/harry.htm and see his cute photos.

Keith created a cute frog computer system for Sandra and sent this photo of it to me on 1/21/06. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/amphibians/otherfrogs/frogcomp.jpg

Significantly Altered or New Pond Web Pages; New Pond Photos:

1. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/winter2.htm - (URL changed to a new directory in 2014)
Under winter 2005/2006 are four photos taken of my 1800 gallon pond and fish on 12/11/05 when there was snow on the ground.

2. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/turtles/index.htm -
My new turtle pages are finally up in the turtles directory! I moved and expanded the 11 pages into 26 pages. You would think it's easy to do but I had to read each page line by line and alter about 50 other files that link to those pages. I have added more than two dozen new turtle photos sent to me and some text here and there. My turtle pages make up less than 5% of my web site so you can see how renovating the entire site would take a long time. If 5% took 3 months, then 100% would take 5 years. By then, they'd need updating again! If you're into turtles, let me know what you think of my new turtle pages. I've deleted the pages as they were in their old locations so update any links, etc. you may have. I stayed up an hour late tonight to upload all the files and never got around to doing any e-mail, etc. I did not have enough time to verify all the new pages are without errors. If you find any, please let me know.

3. http://www.fishpondinfo.com/insects/insect.htm -
Look at the neat burrowing mayfly larvae photo that Amanda sent.

Happenings at Robyn's Ponds:

1. On 1/8/06, I didn't do much except top off the ponds and pick some leaves out of the water. The 1800 gallon was at 40 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 39 degrees F. I found a dead female frog that was either a large green frog or a small bullfrog (too degraded to tell for sure). I also saw a live female green frog at the other end of the pond.

2. The first few weeks of January were warm until, of course, it came time to squirt off the floss. I did it on a Saturday since the temperatures were going to drop from 50-60 degrees F down to freezing. On 1/14/06, in high winds, I got in and took out the filter material and squirted it off and put it back. I topped off all the ponds and collected the tons of leaves that had blown in. The 1800 gallon pond was at 47 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 44 degrees F. By the next morning, half the ponds were frozen in with a huge collection of leaves as the winds raced around.

3. On 1/22/06, I did not get into the pond. It was warm enough though since apparently the extent of our winter this season was back in early December. It was in the 60's (degrees F) on 1/21/06 and such patterns have been the norm. While people love this, it's really bad for the pond life as it confuses their natural rhythms and such. For example, the fish and frogs think it's spring and metabolize faster so they want/need to eat. The problem is that, right now, there is very little natural foods. A few bugs have been coming out early but most then die when we get that one or two days a week that go to freezing among all the abnormal warm days. The week before, I put a cabbage butterfly in the basement that we found in the living room (or rather, my cat Gino found it). The butterfly then vanished before I could offer it some sugar water.

So, on 1/22/06, I just recorded the pond temperatures, both 41 degrees F, topped off the ponds, and did some leaf raking. It was like I was back in November as I raked up half a dozen wheel barrow's full of leaves from around the ponds. With all the high winds (and leaves not stuck in snow or ice), the entire yard is covered in leaves that blew back onto everything from the piles my father and I had made before.

4. On 1/22/06, I moved my three fantail goldfish out of the basement pond, where they had been since Fall of 2004, and put them into my 40 gallon breeder tank which has my 14" 11-year-old plecostomus. You can read more about it on my goldfish page at http://www.fishpondinfo.com/myfish/myingf.htm and see photos of the cuties. I was worried how Plecy would react but he ignores them. After four days in that warmer tank, the largest fantail, at less than 3 inches long, developed tubercles! Then, the next largest got them too. I never would have believed you could sex them that young! There is a photo of the tubercles too on my site.

5. On 1/24/06 to 1/26/06, the horrid winds continue to blow. I can't keep up with the massive amount of leaves. All leaves in a 10 mile radius have found my ponds. I try to remove some twice daily if the pond's not in ice. Sometimes the entire surface is obscured! I can take the temperatures but these winds are worthy of profanity. They even blew my car into the other lane and almost knocked me down in a parking lot.

6. On 1/29/06, I got in the pond. The 1800 gallon pond was at 40 degrees F and the 153 gallon at 39 degrees F. I squirted off the flosses and the bioballs. Bendy (what I've named the bent orfe) hadn't been seen in a while so I figured he was under the plastic "heron protector" which he was. I had expected him to be dead but he was alive and swam off kinked at some 40 degrees, the poor thing. He is losing weight too. I removed some leaves from in the pond. The day before, I put a clump of watercress roots in my waterfall from some watercress my mother had bought. I have watercress already but it never hurts to add some more if it will take.

7. February 2, 2006 was a sad day for wildlife because of me. The day started with tragedy when I saw a squirrel's tail sticking out of an old cardboard box with bedding that the stray cats used to use. I wiggled the box and got no response. I took the bedding out. A gray squirrel was dead in there. It didn't seem to be stuck so why it died, I don't know. I threw out the box and bedding which I hadn't done sooner because mice were living inside the pillow.

When I got home, I did my usual chores and rounds. This time of year, I don't examine around the pond as well as in the summer but fate resulted in a dire discovery. A deer was near my pond overflow which caught my eye and made me see that the pond net was slightly collapsed in at one spot. I went to fix the net. Bending down to re-anchor it, a moving bird caught my eye. There was a cedar waxwing struggling under the net, between the net and the ground. Then, my eye caught a dead one, then another one whose head was red, covered in blood, and then a few more that were not moving. I immediately worked to pull the net up. As soon as it was up, all the birds, even the few who were bleeding profusely, flew away. Only the dead one remained. I took photos to share (top view = http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/birds/other/cedwax1.jpg and bottom view = http://www.fishpondinfo.com/photos/birds/other/cedwax2.jpg). My guilt was immense. Not only had I indirectly killed some birds and hurt others but pretty rare ones at that. But, how did they get there? They were under the net, the opposite end of the only place where the net was open. It's not likely they flew from there under the net. Well, there's a slit hole in the net near the overflow that the squirrel made by chewing, now maybe a foot long. The next morning, the net was down into the water again. I think the heron has been by. This is my theory. The birds descended on the pond to drink. Some found the hole in the net and went through to drink. It was probably a big flock. Then, the heron came. Or perhaps, a cat. It spooked the birds. Instead of flying back out the hole, they flew up into the net and got wedged between the ground and the net. They stuck their heads through. One's neck broke. A few others got bloody. The few luckier ones I freed before they were injured. I can either sew a hole in the net or pull the net back off the overflow section which is probably what I'll do. If the net's removed, so too would most of the fish soon follow. So, there's a risk either way of some innocent animals dying.

8. On 2/4/06, I pulled the net away from the overflow so animals can get water there. If I had just sewed the hole, the squirrel would have just made another as they do every year. Birds that water there can still end up under the net if they panic.

Pond Tidbits:

1. None this month.

Web Sites of Interest:

1. None this month.

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