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Willersey is a picturesque village with stone houses and wide, well-trimmed verges but one of its attractions is the duck pond which lies beside Main Street. Its circumference is roughly 80 metres and it is surrounded on three sides by grass. The fourth side is bounded by the garden of a large house to which the pond once belonged. In the centre is a small island of Cotswold stones which acts as a refuge from foxes for any water birds.
The ducks not only attract tourists but also local people who feed them on seedless grapes, birdseed, cooked rice, peas, beans and oats. Stale bread is not good. As of December 2020 there were 18 ducks in the pond with a high proportion of drakes. Originally the ducks were domestic ones but now they are mainly mallards. They hatch their ducklings in nearby fields and lead them through the village to the pond quite unconcerned about the passing traffic. From March 2015, the ducks were replaced by two moorhens who raised some young. The ducks came back in January 2017. In February 2017 the pond was graced by both ducks and moorhens. In 1977 a seat was put beside the pond to commemorate the Queen's Silver Jubilee. The seats by the pond are also clearly convenient for the bus stop.
Willersey Parish Council in November 2014 signed an agreement with A E Fisheries to manage the pond including cleaning it of excess reed growth and introducing species of fish which are ecologically balanced. The ducks are being encouraged to return to the pond. In July 2015, dragon flies were skimming over the surface.
In this picture from 1963, the edge of the pond is accessible for passing animals to take a drink. There were at the time seven ducks swimming on it and in the background you can see Farm Court before its conversion to housing. The pond has its own source of water from a spring and it rarely overflows. In August 2017 a freshwater habitat trust check showed no signs of nitrates or phosphates. Our pond in Willersey is clean! The outflow from the pond passes through a series of pipes downhill towards the old railway bridge on Badsey Lane.
Stone commemorating the year 2000 placed near the duck pond.
In late summer 2016 the surface of the pond was filled with a green plant which turned red.
A report from the pond maintainers identified it as a floating plant with the common name of fairy moss. Its latin name is Azolla Caralinea.
This plant is now banned in the UK and can no longer be sold as it's an invasive species.
Heavy frost in the winter of 2016/2017 killed most of the plant. If left it will rot and sink.
It is fairly easy to net the decaying plant out of the pond and it composts very well.
As of January 2017, the recent rain and time has as predicted, caused most of the weed to sink.
Willersey has had no appreciable rain for two months at the end of July 2018 (like the summer of 1976).
Half the pond had dried up and the rest is very muddy. Any wildlife buries itself in the mud and waits for the rains to return. By December 2018 enough rain had fallen so the pond has filled up and at least five ducks had returned. (Seven in January 2019 and more in October 2020.)
Yes, there has been boating on the pond. After some rain in May 2019, the pond is now in good shape. (More would be desirable).
Our pond has many moods and history. Here is a picture of some benches beside the pond and a picture from 1952.
A heron inspecting the pond in July 2019. (Click on the pictures below and above for a full screen version.)
A kingfisher was spotted by the pond in the afternoon of February 27th 2020 by Jeanette Brewer and her son Steve.
Although bread is not harmful to ducks on its own, it fills them up and they then do not feel any need to eat anything else. Ducks cannot live on bread alone as it has no real nutritional value for them. Uneaten bread can grow mold which can make ducks sick. “ We encourage people to use things like sweetcorn, porridge oats and defrosted frozen peas as well as bird seed,” says the RSPB.
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