The Barefoot Photographer®

a photography blog

Saturday, May 3, 2008

Damsel in Distress

Yesterday I stepped out onto the deck to peep at the pond.  I am on "tadpole watch."  No tadpoles – yet.  Every night I hear at least two – last night it sounded like three or four frogs 'singing' in the backyard.  There was something yesterday – I am not sure what – I don't think it was a frog – it looked like a turtle!  Do I have a turtle in the pond?  Where did the turtle come from and how did it find my little pond?  I did notice that the water level in the pond was very low.  The lowest it has been in a while.  So I decided to put a little into it.  This may or may not be against the water restrictions – if it is I certainly did it during the time period allowed and it was for no longer than 25 minutes.


While I was out there I just took a few minutes to sit by the pond and look it over.  My pond is not a pretty pond.  I don't want it to look like a kiddie pool that just happens to have fish in it.  I like my pond to look like a real pond.  This means it has gunk in it and the gunk is where a lot of things live that keep the pond's ecosystem going.  The gunk is also probably where the frogs' eggs are that haven't hatched yet.  There is also a thing that sort of resembles a beaver dam (small one) in the middle where all the lily pads and the underwater plants have grown like weeds.  Are they weeds?  Maybe the water lilies do so well because the pond is gunky?  I am thinking next winter I may cut that thing down a little – but again pond creatures live there.  If I take chunks out – I will be pulling living creatures out of the pond.  There must be – well who knows how many – snails in there!


As I sit on the patio, I am noticing the little yellow floating hearts that have spread all over the pond.  Not blooming yet – but when they do they will be yellow.  This is a plant – kind of like a water lily – but not really.  The leaves/pads are small, delicate, and heart shaped.  When it blooms, its vibrant yellow flower rises above the water line.  I have two water lilies.  One is the one that has been in the pond from the beginning – it is the usual white flower with the eye-popping yellow center and speckled pads.  These pads get slightly larger than my hand.  They are pretty and spreading all over the pond.  The other lily is a beautiful pink.  It is relatively new – this will be its third year.  Last year was the first bloom.  It is so pretty and such a color – it looks fake.  The pads with this plant are darker in color than the white lily and a bit smaller.  I can't wait for it to bloom this year so I can get some photos!


Watching the lily pads, I see wasps and bees come, land, and get a sip of water.  The blue dasher dragonflies are buzzing around the pond.  I watch as one grabs some little flying insect from the air and returns to its perch on my rusting heron statue by the edge of the rocks.  There are two; and I think they may be fighting to establish territory.   I also start noticing the delicate damsel flies clinging to lily pads and other plants near the pond.  I am wondering if these are some from eggs laid in the pond and are just coming out on such a warm day.  It is breezy and the wind over the pon d (and it does not take much of a breeze) blows a damsel fly into the water.  I watch as it is slowly floats near another lily pad.  I think it will be fine – it will hit the new pad and get out.  But, just as it nears the pad the little wings go crazy and it buzzes across the water, unable to break the surface tension, and away from the lily pads.  The damsel fly (it appears to be a common spreadwing) is out in the middle of nothing and now a wing is in the water.  There are times like these you have a dilemma.  If I had been in the house – I wouldn't have seen this and the damsel fly is left on its own.  Since I am here, seeing it – should I interfere with nature?  This is not the first time the pond has presented me with such a question.  A few years ago I fished out a common green darner dragonfly.  I carefully placed it on a rock so its wings could dry and then ran into the house to get my camera.  I have some great macros of that dragonfly.   There was another time – I was not outside and I think a frog grabbed a mockingbird that was too much to handle.  When I went outside I had to dip a dead mockingbird out of the pond. 


So what to do about the damsel fly?  Well I had to get it out – so I dipped a little garden rake into the water so it could cling to it and sat the rake on the rocks.  I did not rush in to get the camera.  I did not want photos of this fly clinging to the tines of a plastic rake and I did not want to shake it off or try some how to get it onto a better surface for photos.  When I got up to go in the house – it was still on the rake.  Something might have eaten it by now – but I did not sit there and let it drown. 


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