See the progress of the digging of the ponds below:

Thank you - We managed to raise £10,000 which means we are able to access all of the possible match funding and have raised a total of £20,000. What a fantastic effort.

Follow the development of the Fields to improve them for wildlife and people:

photos by Bill Martin, Greg Lee, Steffan Walton and Sally Hunter and drone photos by Vicki Peaple

Friday 17th May

If you haven't yet managed to get to see the ponds this is what the area now looks like:

Thursday 9th May

The accessible gate nearest to the Observatory is now in place as is the middle gate.

Thanks as always to the hard work of our conservation team (some of whom are pictured by their handiwork) you can now walk off the road from the near corner of the Dragonfly Pond Field all the way to the Little Elms exit from the Jubilee Field as the visitors found yesterday.

Two benches in memory of Ian Hodgson and Colin North (funded by their friends and families) will be arriving next week. The conservation team will get them installed as soon as their other maintenance work allows. These benches will be spaced out along the route in the fields to allow visitors to sit by the new ponds to observe the wildlife as it colonises them as well as providing welcome resting places for those whose mobility is impaired.

We are so lucky that our members and others appreciate the reserves that we manage and own and have helped us in so many ways to improve them for wildlife and for visitors. We can only do what we do with the support of our members and others who value the natural world for it's own sake and for what it provides for us.

Wednesday 8th May

Some visitors today were keen to let us know how excited they were to be able to walk from the Little Elms off the road through the Dragonfly fields on our wonderful new paths all the way to the gate nearest the Observatory. How lovely to have our work recognised for what we have tried to do so soon and so fulsomely.

Thursday 18th April 2024

Our new ponds are now ready to receive Dainty Damselflies, Great Crested Newts and any other wildlife that chooses to make them part of their life cycle.  Part of the agreement with Natural England who enabled this part of the development is that nothing is introduced into these ponds. It will be interesting to monitor the natural progression of the ponds.

Thanks to Kentish Stour Countryside Partnership and their contractor FGS Pilcher the digging work and path laying is complete:

The final pond nearest to the Jubilee Field is complete and filling nicely

The path through the Jubilee Field has also been completed

Wednesday 17th April 2024

The third and final pond taking shape and filling even as the digging continues

Tuesday 16th April 2024

Some Mediterranean Gulls were seen attracted to the digging, checking out what the digger had uncovered.

The whole of Dragonfly Pond Field from the end nearest the Observatory showing the ponds and the raised paths

The first pond looking quite established and full of water

The middle pond is filling quite nicely

The first two ponds, the pathways and the tree planting bund

Digging the final pond.

There should be enough spoil to complete the extra tracks we wanted across the Jubilee Field to allow easy access for the conservation team vehicle and to keep visitors feet dry

 

Monday 15th April 2024

Flattening the hedge planting area.

Over the weekend a couple of Oystercatchers were seen checking out the area!

Saturday 13th April 2024

No work over the weekend. However:

The middle pond was started on Friday. The top soil in the foreground is waiting to be smoothed down for the eventual planting of the hedgerow trees to strengthen the existing rather sparse hedge along the road.

The site of the third pond nearest to the Jubilee Field.

Friday 12th April 2024

The first pond - nearest the Observatory - filling well with water.

Looking from the original Dragonfly pond towards the first gate showing the raised pathways that should make the area accessible even in wet times. The first new pond - on the right - is almost completely full of water.

A closer look at the pathway leading to the site of the first new gate.

Thursday 11th April 2024

What a difference a day makes!

The first new pond on the right of the picture with the Dragonfly pond in the background taken from the site of one of the new gates to the reserve.

The first of the new ponds beginning to fill with water naturally.

The path which will lead from the first new gate (nearest the Observatory) and tree planting bank on the left. This area has been raised with the top soil from the diggings so that when our new trees arrive in the autumn they can be planted into ground that is a little above the water table!

Wednesday 10th April 2024

Despite the wet ground the work has started

 

The contractors are using tracked vehicles to minimise their effect on the rest of the reserve.

the shape of the pond beginning to show

 

They are having to pump out the water to enable them to dig the first pond. At least it shows that the ponds will soon fill with water once completed!

 

Monday 8th April 2024

The kit has arrived!

The machinery on site and ready for use

 

The dragonfly pond, created in 2012, is situated within a grazed field with the aim of attracting Odonata. Over 15 species of dragonfly and damselfly have been found around the pond! The Jubilee Field contains a range of shrub flora species including Hawthorn, Dog Rose, Blackthorn, Crab Apple, Rowan, and Hazel. The dense bushes provide habitat for breeding thrushes and Linnets whilst the habitat mats on the edges are good for reptiles.

Find the Dragonfly Pond and Jubilee Field on our Reserves map HERE

Dragonfly Pond Field (photos by Steffan Walton)

In spring, early Odonata such as Variable Damselflies can be seen between April and August, although difficult to spot and identify. Broad-bodied Chasers are much more easily identified by their wide body and yellow side spots. The pool sometimes provides respite for Green Sandpipers and Barn Owls hunt the meadows.

Dragonfly Pond by Steffan Walton

In summer, Ruddy Darter and Emerald and Small Red-eyed Damselflies are found around the pond whilst Emperor Moth larvae and Forester moths have been seen here recently too. Whitethroats feed their young around the edges of the field whilst Oystercatcher have been known to nest among the damper rushes in the field.

Turtle Dove seed mix planted in the Jubilee Field

In autumn, some late lingering species such as Black-tailed Skimmers may still be around and Whinchats will flit from fence post to fence post. Winter may see the odd Coot and wildfowl species on the pond and the neighbouring fields can be full of Curlew and Stock Dove flocks.

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