Making the most of wild swimming

May sunshine means it’s time to jump in the Wheatland Farm pond, and get up close and personal with some dragons and damsels.

The pond looks a bit bigger at eye level doesn’t it. We’ll be keeping a section at the deep end clear for mucking about this year.

It’s part of what we said we’d do in our 2020 Charter. We’re having trouble getting out to buy any wood to make pontoons or jetties, we can still use the pond. And we hope to welcome guests back to the eco lodges soon too. This year it looks like things to do on the farm might be increasingly important in covid Britain.

But our ‘bottom line’ remains our Devon wildlife, so although we’ll be swimming in the deep part of the pond, we’ll be leaving the shallows more for damsel and dragonflies, and the odd boat launching of course. There’s nothing quite like seeing pond life from this angle. The dragons and damsels are just starting to put in an appearance as May unfurls, like these large red damselflies, recently emerged to enjoy the sunshine.

And this year is looking like a good year for large red damselflies. Some years we only see a few at Wheatland Farm, but at present there are lots, flying, perching, mating and egg laying. Azure damselflies are out and about too – gorgeous streaks of blue. In a few weeks, or maybe days even, they will emerge in their hundreds, but at the moment we only count about 20 or so at a time.

Last year we didn’t see the first dragon (rather than damselflies) until 16 May, but with 2020’s warm spring it’s time to start looking already. And we’re ahead on the total species count for this year too – large red damselflies, blue tailed damselflies, azure, and even one of the two demoiselle species (we’re not entirely sure which – they can be tricky to identify). We’ll be submitting the pic below to irecord, where we put most of Wheatland Farm’s wildlife sightings.