Wednesday, 5 August 2015
The whole wheat diet is not doing these ponds any good
Here is one of the Ellington Farm arable field subsidence ponds in September 2013 (left) and this July (right). In 2013 the wide, shallow pool had stayed wet most of the summer, the open water ideal for gulls, and waders to loaf about leaving the water’s edge with a scum line of preened feathers and down. It was ploughed through in the autumn but then left unplanted and soon reverted to its less domesticated state. In 2015 the pond was waterlogged over winter but only as a small central pool and the winter wheat has been drilled, germinated and is fast approaching harvesting. I doubt that any teal or avocets hung around this year. Since 2010 we’ve kept track of when these ponds dry and fill, and their changing areas. The arable field ponds are particularly sensitive to the rainfall of the preceding month, the ponds in amongst wetland mosaics and dune slacks less so, perhaps buffered by a more waterlogged surround.If the pond stays like this the whole lot can be ploughed and planted this autumn, which may be enough to knock it out of the wider pond-scape and banish the wildlife that likes these disturbed, open flashes. The wall of wheat looks likely to advance, unless the weather turns fearsomely wet.