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Autumn is one of the busiest times of year for us on our parks and open spaces. Now that young birds have fledged, we can safely cut back hard scrub. We also have a brief opportunity to tidy up our ponds, which can rapidly become overgrown. Many pond species, including frogs and dragonfly nymphs, will spend the winter tucked up in the mud at the bottom of the pond. So we need to make sure we undertake any works ahead of their hibernation. While we are eager to keep a variety of plants around our ponds, the glyceria have taken advantage of the sunshine and warm weather and grown rapidly and taken over much of what was once open water. To tackle the problem, you have to get in the deep end, pulling up plants from their roots and working from the inside of the pond towards the edges. We’re maintaining plants along the perimeter of the pond as these will be important places for emerging damselflies and dragonflies in the spring and summer.

A huge thank you to our corporate volunteer group from RBS who donned wellies and waders and got stuck in to lend a hand! Working with TCV they did a brilliant clearing job. We found resident newts, frogs and countless invertebrates more! Over the next week, we’ll be leaving the removed vegetation at the edges of the pond, so any pondlife that might have gotten caught up in the fray can slip quietly back into the water. But there’s no need to worry about the wildlife, opening open the ponds will improve the habitat for them. In fact, as the team took a quick break for tea, frogs popped up across the pond, dragonflies whirred along the surface and wrens came down from our hedges for a drink. The wildlife may not be able to thank you for your hard work themselves, but we certainly can. Thank you! We couldn’t do it without you. To find out more about volunteering at Mudchute (as a team or an individual) please visit our volunteering page.


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Our coppiced woodland has been taken over by the bright blooms of daffodils! The weather condition this year have been particularly good to the daffodil and these early flowering plants are thriving across the farm, especially in the coppice. Early flowers like daffodils are an important source of nectar for emerging bumblebees and other pollinators. They also put on a fantastic display!

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A freshly laid clump of frogspawn.

A freshly laid clump of frogspawn.

If you’ve visited our ponds recently you’ll have noticed a very clear sign that Spring may be on its way, frogspawn! Large clumps of spawn have been deposited in our ponds and if you’re lucky you might even be able to spot the adult frogs. We are very happy to see local amphibians using our ponds following our recent work clearing up and planting around the ponds with Froglife.

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A frosty platform.

A frosty platform.

Clumps of spawn.

Clumps of spawn.

However, temperatures are still very low overnight and we have certainly not seen the last frost and the ponds occasionally freeze overnight. We even spotted ice on the frogspawn! Many animals must time their behaviour carefully with the start of Spring and we hope the frogs have gotten it right. Let’s hope many of the eggs hatch and many of those tadpoles will survive and grow into adult frogs!

Frogspawn, with a thin covering of ice!

Frogspawn, with a thin covering of ice!

An adult frog in the pond.

An adult frog in the pond.

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