A bit of a late post from Friday as I have been away from my computer this weekend. We went fishing on Friday, or rather we had a visit from the Environment Agency’s fisheries team to remove some of the introduced fish from the Centre Lake at Swanwick. This lake should be home to a thriving population of newts and especially of great crested newt, but the increasing fish population has all but wiped them out. We had hoped to move the fish under licence to one of the club waters elsewhere on the reserve but this proved impossible due to the numbers of garden pond throw-out fish in the lake. You might wonder why garden pond fish should be a problem and the answer has to do with the risk of disease. Moving fish has to be done with care and under license to ensure that the fish do not carry any diseases. Unlicensed movements can result in big losses of fish and pond fish are a particular risk due to the high densities they can be kept at and often foreign origin of the stock. The result was that the fish we caught could not be moved elsewhere, but it was interesting to see the scale of the problem we have and the answer is very large!
The fish themselves were not large but there are obviously lots of them and they include a good few that must have been dumped from garden ponds.
Sadly the problem with dumping unwanted things from garden ponds is actually even worse than just a disease risk to fish. The fish often some with bit of pondweed and this now means that most ponds and even large lakes in Hampshire are dominated by alien waterweeds. But it is worse still, one of the fungal diseases carried commonly by pond fish is fatal to our native frogs, toads and newts, although it seems to do the fish no harm.
All our native amphibians seem to be in decline and globally, because these disease issues do seem to be global in scale, it is estimated that 40% of all amphibians are at risk of extinction.
Often when a pond is emptied the contents are taken to a local pond and released to the wild, this is a well-meant act but potentially very destructive, even moving surplus frog spawn is dangerous as you don’t know what diseases it may be carrying or what else is lurking in that bucket of water.
In the afternoon I went down to Farlington to ready the raft for another go at floating it on Tuesday. I then checked the cattle and on my way back to the building saw my first hawthorn blossom of the year. This is the may blossom, may being an alternative name for hawthorn as it blooms in the month of may.
I rather like the spherical buds as well as the flowers.