Managing Habitats for Dragonflies
In 2010, I took my family to Brandon Marsh Nature Centre at Warwickshire Wildlife Trust Nature Center. We were interested in sightseeing but our visited coincided with a dragonfly adult identification workshop which was taking place at the center. Therefore, even though we weren’t entirely interested in learning more about dragonfly, we decided to join the team and learn more. Essentially, they were there to learn how to record dragonfly presence and behavior.
Watching various species of dragonfly was amazing. Although we didn’t spend much time with them since it was a pre-booked event had we hadn’t prior planned for it, the interaction that I had with the visitors in the field made me curious to learn more about various species of dragonflies and butterflies and their importance in the environment lived in a region where there were different species of them.
To learn more about their behavior, I decided to create my own garden pond where I could study them and also enjoy their beauty since they are usually captivating to watch. If you plan to build a garden pond for dragonflies, you need to know that they primarily need fresh water for their breeding and also as their habitats. Also the presence of submerged plants in the ponds is very critical, because the plants provides the oxygen needed in the water and are also suitable places for breeding and developing larvae.
Creating a Wildlife Pond for Dragonflies
Therefore, I planned and designed my pond. I did a little research on the internet, and learned that a good pond needs to be sheltered away from strong weeds and should have good exposure to sunlight because of the submerged plants that you will plant in the pond. I purchased all the materials that I needed to construct the pond. I then proceeded to create it, by ensuring that it met good standards which would enable dragonflies to thrive.
After I finished creating the pond, I choose the best submerged plants which I could plant in it. I chose to plant curled & fennel pondweeds and water-starworts. I planted the plants in sprout bags and then watered them. Since it was spring, I decided to let the pond fill naturally from rainwater.
It wasn’t long before I say some dragonflies which had come to colonize the pond. I was glad that my efforts were paying off. I would take pictures of the insects from time to time as I watched the pond develop. However, I soon realized some algae developing in the pond.
I didn’t know the best way in which I could clean the pond without distracting the life of the dragon flies which had come to be part of my obsession. I decided to leave the pond alone for some time as I studied if the presence of the algae would make the insects to flee.
Potential Threats to Wildlife in Water Habitats
I would sit near the ponds on weekends and make observation of the dragonflies. I loved to see them fight each other, perch or roost on the submerged plants in the water or ovipositing. It was fun. Also sometimes my daughter would bring her friends in the weekends to watch the beauty of the pond. I had instructions about visiting the pond and they actually followed them.
However, one day I realized that the population of the dragonflies in the pond had decreased. It went reducing as went days went by and this made me get concerned. I decided to investigate about what could have resulted to the decrease in the population. As far as I knew, I had done nothing wrong in particular.
Although I did all I could to investigate this, I couldn’t identify the problem. My daughter is usually responsible and there is no way she could have introduced anything harmful in the pond. Therefore I concluded that the pond was poorly managed and the presence of the algae and some duckweed could have brought by contamination in the pond.
I’m yet to renovate the pond so as to attract another colony of dragonflies, but this time around I will have to be more careful about how I maintain it. I’m still undecided on the best way to do so, which may not make the existing population of the insects to go away since I do not want to distract them.