Swift pond

Swift pond before restoration.  A typical overgrown pond; lots of willow, not much water, very little aquatic life.
October 2013 – Swift pond before restoration. A typical overgrown pond; lots of willow, not much water, and very little aquatic life.
Inside swift pond, before restoration.  In the deepest point, we have about 5cm of water.
October 2013 –  Inside swift pond, before restoration. In the deepest point, we have about 15cm of water.
Beginning tree clearance around Swift pond.
October 2013 –  Beginning tree clearance around Swift pond.
Taking a core from the deep point of Swift pond.  We all got stuck, and we all fell in.
October 2013 –  Emily S, Emily A and Phoebe taking a core from the deep point of Swift pond. We all got stuck, and we all fell in.
Tree clearance complete, and Dom moves in with the digger for sediment removal.
October 2013 –  Tree clearance complete, and Dom moves in with the digger for sediment removal.
Swift pond restored. To the right of the photo you can see the white marl, which forms the base of the pond.  When the water level rises, this will provide a nice stable shallow area for aquatic plants.
October 2013 –  Swift pond restored. To the right of the photo you can see the white marl, which forms the base of the pond. When the water level rises, this will provide a nice stable shallow area for aquatic plants.
Swift pond 5 weeks on.  This photo hopefully illustrates why the pond was named
November 2013 (5 weeks on). This photo hopefully illustrates why the pond was named “Swift” – how it has filled so much faster than the other sites is a bit of a mystery – it could be that there is an old field drain running into the pond, but the water is very clear and clean.
Swift pond five weeks on - towards the back of the photo you can make out the white marl showing through the water - this is the marl ledge which was quite high above the water level just after restoration.
November 2013 – towards the back of the photo you can make out the white marl showing through the water – this is the marl ledge which was quite high above the water level just after restoration.

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January 2014 – the water level in Swift pond has remained about the same, but the pond is now beginning to clear and become less green.  There is extensive growth of water crowfoot (Ranunculus aquatilis), celery-leaved buttercup (Ranunculus sceleratus), and water mint (Mentha aquatica), in the water and around the pond margins.

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February 2014 – A very windy, grey day at Swift pond.  Unfortunately the poor weather conditions made it very difficult to see much under the water’s surface, although from what I could see it appeared the vegetation was still there, and the composition hadn’t changed much.  Some patches of Chara had started to develop around the edge of the pond, although there are still no germinations in the microcosms.

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May 2014 – Spring has arrived, and the Ranunculus aquatilis seen back in November has now reached the surface of the pond and is flowering.  Under the water, R.aquatilis still dominates, while the Chara is spreading more slowly to fill in the gaps.  While there are still a lot of toad tadpoles in the pond, the frogs seem to now be hopping around the margins as froglets.

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May 2014  – A shot from inside the pond.  The patch of iris was there before restoration, but has since expanded and is growing much more vigorously.  In the foreground you can see some of the flowering Ranunculus aquatilis.  The water remains very clear and clean.

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June 2014 – The Ranunculus has now finished flowering, leaving the surface of Swift pond dominated by clumps of filamentous algae.  Under water, the Chara seems to be doing well, and has spread across much of the pond bed.  Other plant species, including Ailisma plantago aquatica (common water plantain), and Veronica catenata (pink water speedwell), are also appearing in the pond.

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June 2014 – The same shot as taken in May, from inside the pond.  You can see that much of the Ranunculus at the surface of the pond has died back, while clumps of floating filamentous algae (which were not there in May), have appeared across the pond.

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July 2014 – The water level in Swift pond has dropped considerably, exposing quite large areas which were previously underwater.  Despite this, the pond is looking fantastic, with three new aquatic plant species having appeared – watermilfoil (Myriophyllum spicatum), mare’s tail (Hippuris vulgaris) and small pondweed (Potamogeton birchtoldii).

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July 2014 – Some of the aquatic vegetation growing in Swift pond – in this photo CharaP.natans, S.erectum, and R.aquatilis are all visible.

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July 2014 – An underwater shot across the dense Chara beds in Swift pond.

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August 2014 – The water level in Swift pond remains low, but aquatic plants are doing well.  P. natans is spreading across the pond, and seems to be a favourite perch for Emperor dragonflies, while they are laying eggs.

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August 2014 – Another for the series of photos taken inside the pond (May and June) – not only is the bank vegetation doing well, but you can also see the dark green beds of Chara which still dominate the pond.

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August 2014 – Emergent vegetation on the shallow shelf of Swift pond (which is often submerged, but at the moment remains dry).  Sparganium erectum and Typher latifolia are the main components.

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September 2014 – The water level in Swift pond has fallen since last month, exposing more of the marl shelf.  22 species of water-associated plant now occur in Swift pond.

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September 2014 – A photo closer to the water level in Swift pond shows the abundant broadleaved pondweed (P. natans), which has spread right across the pond.  Underwater, thick beds of chara continue to dominate.

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November 2014 – Winter rainfall has bought the level of Swift pond up several inches since September.  As with the other ponds, much of the aquatic vegetation has either died back, or sunk down into the relatively warmer water, ready for winter.

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June 2015 – Now in it’s second spring, Swift pond contains 21 species of aquatic and water associated plant, including some locally scarce species (hair-like pondweed Potamogeton trichoides, and mare’s tail Hippuris vulgaris).  The pond supports breeding populations of smooth and great crested newt, frogs, and toads, as well as a family of moorhens.

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