Survival of the Fittest

Might just rethink how I feel. The pond is for frogs who eat slugs and snails, and for newts and dragonflies. Then I see a grass snake swim across. I’ve not seen my last goldfish ( one which stayed black and avoided the 40 or so which went to the heron). I guess I know now what happened to him. Now the frog’s days are numbered.

Darwin’s theory doesn’t help how I feel. I love the garden: I love the help of frogs and toads. I love the first sign of frogspawn on a February day, the tiny tadpoles clinging to a piece of elodea. I love the visual interest of fish in the clear water. I love the winged combat of damsel flies and dragonflies with all their iridescence. The swallows dip and dive over it through summer . The blackbird and wood pigeon bathe- one more clumsily than the other. I love the arching stretched flight of the heron over a stretch of water; I hated its non stop visits to the pond in one evening in September.

It was magical to find the huge white eggs of a grass snake one year in the compost heap ( turned too frequently these days ) . It was unnerving to meet the largest snake ever- a Harry Potter moment one summer. While quietly tending the vegetable patch I looked up on hearing a sudden ‘hiss’ and saw jaws and tongue protruding inches from my face.

Survival of the fittest we saw in the heron incident and I subsequently compared it to lessons I teach; if only the black fish had had another to provide offspring! Now we have to see the predator/ prey struggle born out in our small pond. I think I know the winner – it’s rather inevitable.

A wildlife pond is essential to a gardener for all the benefits, though right now I’m alarmed at how precarious the balance is within a pond. Nature is sometimes harsh.

This one’s days may be numbered

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