We're in the middle of a warm spell in St. Louis right now, with temperatures in the 40's F a few days ago, steadily climbing to 64ºF (17ºC) by tomorrow. It smells like spring, and the pond ice is melting.
Last year when the ice covering the pond melted I wasn't overly interested, as it was just a frozen, empty pond thawing. This year of course the pond is a habitat, and I'm curious about it all the time -- watching the ice melt is just another facet of my fascination.
Although the rocks are causing the most melting:
The submerged plants (the oxygenators) are being heated by the sunlight and melting the ice too:
Which results in these pretty rings of darker ice, which soon turn to open water:
The water is crystal clear right now, revealing quite a bit of organic material below the surface:
Okay, it's mainly leaves, and I really should have made more effort to get more of them out of the water. The beneficial bacteria I've been regularly adding (it's a blend specifically for icy cold waters) seems to be doing its job.
There are many bees visiting the "beach":
They can get moisture almost anywhere right now, but they know the pond is a reliable source. They're not actually drinking from the water though, just from the moist edges:
Perhaps the pond water is too cold?
I spent several minutes out here, scanning the ice for any signs of the most important pond inhabitants: the fish. I thought they'd be fine as they're quite cold-hardy, but there was still a bit of doubt -- the ice did get a couple of inches thick. I finally saw a bit of orange, slowly moving around:
Just to be sure it was actually moving, I checked the same spot again after several minutes:
Yep, at least one of the fish is doing fine -- which most likely means they all are. I hope.
I'll know more in the next couple of days, when the ice will be completely gone. I can't wait to see into the depths of these clear waters!
Winter is not over yet, as we still have the coldest parts of the year to get through before spring truly arrives, but these warm spells are nice.