Sunday, 16 September 2012

Where this started.....

..."over the bridge to enchantment", as Aberlady Bay, on the East Lothian coast, has been described. In 1985 walking along the dune slacks I was startled by the differences between the plant life of small ponds created when anti-tank blocks had been taken out. Some of the ponds were choked with stoneworts, others with Mares tail or Shining Pondweed. The photo shows the nearest pond with Shining Pondweed, Potamogeton lucens, but, barely a metre beyond, the other pond is full of vivid algae. The ponds are the same size, shape, age and within metres of each other; why should they be so very different? Hard to tell, without a time machine to go back to their creation. Maybe this was just a fluke, an accident of history, or perhaps the plants are minutely attuned to tiny variations in the conditions of each pond. A picture which haunts my research. In 1994 at Hauxley Nature Reserve, at the north of Druridge Bay, we dug out small ponds in imitation of Aberlady so their wildlife could be recorded from the very first day. A sort of time machine after all.

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