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Pond Dipping at Kearsney Parks

Pond Dipping at Kearsney Parks

Location: Kearsney Parks, Russell Gardens and Bushy Ruff Country Park

Date: 20th September 2023

Blog Written by: Helen (Walk Leader)

We started the slightly overcast and blustery morning by visiting the swan lake in Kearsney Abbey Gardens - the swans are quite bold and used to visitors. Whereas we weren’t quite so brave and tried to keep a safe distance from them. One swan even decided that the bird identification book looked tasty! 

There were ducks and a moorhen mother feeding her fluffy black chicks on the lakeside. The park grounds were landscaped when Kearsney Abbey House was built in the 1800’s and now the only remaining part of the mansion is the billiard room.  We had a peek in there on our way to the cafe at the end of our walk.

The main activity of the day was pond dipping in Russell Gardens, just over the road. We used a variety of techniques to capture aquatic creatures in our nets (made with wire, bamboo canes and old tights). Michelle perfected a trawling technique by scooting alongside the entire length of the ornamental lily pond with her net in the water. 

Everyone had a go at pond dipping and after putting our finds in pre-filled trays of pond water, we got the magnifying glasses out. We had the Field Studies Council Freshwater Name Trail Guide and used it to identify various critters, including a large dragon fly larva and several damselfly larvae, a wiggling red non-biting midge larva, pond snails, water fleas and empty mosquito larva cases. Under high magnification, the dragonfly larva looked particularly terrifying. We then carefully released them back into the pond.

We carried on along the path to explore the big lake formed by the chalk stream of the River Dour at Bushy Rough Nature Reserve. A friendly Common Darter dragonfly landed on Laura’s hand and we spotted pond skaters.

It was then a pleasant journey back to the cafe, past the pretty streams and bridges in Russell Gardens.

📸 Image credits: Laura & Michelle


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