Pond dipping

with Ian Bushell

While we were getting the dam ready for the contractor and in between digging holes, clearing vegetation and trimming hedges, I had a bit of pond dip in the pool below the dam.

The pool is not very big at the moment because of the drought and it’s still shrinking. It’s cluttered with branches and with vegetation both in the water and on the bank, which made it difficult to wield a net.

I found a large swan mussel in the mud at the bottom of the pool A big swan mussel can be decades old, its age calculated in the same way as a tree’s is calculated: by counting annual growth rings in its shell. I didn’t get a picture of this mussel so I have included a picture of the biggest specimen I ever found in the Lambrok, estimated to be 60 years old ,

There were also a lot of empty shells left on the side of the pool by a raiding otter. While I am always excited to find signs of otters in the park, I sometimes wish they would leave our mussel beds alone.

I netted some small three-spined sticklebacks, various sizes of pond snails, and some freshwater shrimps. Everything else has gone into hiding for the duration of the drought.

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