Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening  

Go Back   Wildlife Gardeners - North American Wildlife Gardening > Wildlife Gardeners of North America Unite > Habitat

Reply
 
LinkBack Thread Tools Display Modes
Old 02-10-2010, 09:45 PM   #1
Heron
 
lonediver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Maricopa , Arizona , U.S.A.
Default Design suggestions for water habitat ?

So far the area that I am seriously lacking in is water features/habitat . Have plans/ideas for some 2 semi big projects , 1 giant one , and 4 lesser ones . At present I rely on two chicken waterers , you know the 3 - 5 gallon ones with a ring type basin around them . But water is a scarce commidity around here so the birds (and other things) have been attracted to here and rely on those . Larger water features with some movement should double the numbers and varieties . A few pics of what I have on hand ;

#1. A large rectangular tank that I aquired just the other day, still on my trailer . 12 feet long by 3 1/2 feet wide by 3 feet 4 inches deep . Calculates to 1,045.69542 gallons . I desire to have something for water where potentially bats flying can dip/swoop down and catch water on the fly as some of them do . Talking with the AGF the bat officer there tells me that she has observed them doing such on a cattle watering tank of say 6 feet in length so this tank more than qualifies in length . The other requirment for bats would be a clear flight pattern so it would be desireable to locate it where there are not tall trees or shrubbery .

#2. This tank has two plumbed in fittings already on the side suitable for recirculating the water . The whole tank is cobnstructed of a heavy sheet metal galvanized .

#3. A drain hole port on one end on the bottom .

#4. I believe I would like it out by the owl habitat . Shrubbery, tree free fills the bill . The green stakes in the foreground maybe possible location . I woulld intend to largely bury the tank to about a three foot depth , leaving four inches above the average surrounding earth . The excess earth excavated would create an apron around what of the top remained above . Elevating it a few inches would prevent any dirt/debris etc from washing in , in the event of rain activity .

I have read here recently about fishless ponds , so if I have one , this one is likely to be it .

Some what concerned about it's depth , lack of sloping sides . A possibility would be create something of a false floor in it . My idea of that would be to make/create a tubular pipe frame that would be as long as the tanks interior itself . Perhaps some 2 1/2 feet high then laying something for a very course screening on top of that . Something with perhaps 2 to 4 inch square pattern . Something that plants could grow through as well as tadpoles and such . Materials such as is used for UW fish habitat . This would serve as a protection/escape for those as well as serving to protect any larger mammals that might fall into the tank .

Still fishing for ideas on this one . Should I coat the galvanized ? Small escape ramps will have to be provided as well for smaller creatures , I would desire any thing like that remain something natural looking rather than just a plank ramp . A few logs maybe ? Hmmm .
Attached Thumbnails
Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070023.jpg   Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070024.jpg   Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070026.jpg   Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070028.jpg  
lonediver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2010, 11:33 PM   #2
Salamander
 
Leslie's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Olympia, WA
Default

Good for you - water is important!

I was having constant problems with my built-in swimming pool with creatures falling in and drowning, if I didn't arrive soon enough to pull them out. I found frogs, toads, lizards, skinks, spiders, bees, squirrels, a box turtle, fiddler crabs, and a shrew.

I solved the problem by draping fallen branches into the pool. (I should mention that at that point, I had quit chlorinating the pool and it wasn't being used for swimming.) I used fairly large branches, with the smaller branches attached, leaving parts underwater. These branches also served as resting locations and cover for tadpoles and water bugs, and the tadpoles fed on the algae that eventually grew on them. The bees would land on the sloping branches to drink - they need water, too! I also watched a little garter snake twined in the branches, trying to catch the critters in the water. This increased the wildlife in my yard to the extent that a barred owl began hunting the pool area.
__________________
Forget not that the earth delights to feel your bare feet and the winds long to play with your hair.
-- Kahlil Gibran
Leslie is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-10-2010, 11:56 PM   #3
Heron
 
lonediver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Maricopa , Arizona , U.S.A.
Default

Next up, out in front of the house we have a small traffic island ;

#1. There are two tanks already installed , one whose top edge is set just a few inches above average grade . The second was placed on top of the ground with the dirt that was excavated from the other birmed around it . The two of these are some 8 feet in diameter about 2 1/2 feet deep . So a start on some terraced ponds .

#2 & 3 . Some more pics of those two .

#4. There is to be a third pond in this terraced set right here in the fore ground where a portion of the rock circle is seen . The swing there is sitting where water is to be . I think that the upper pond can be seen in the background to the right . This one is to be larger some 11 feet in diameter by 5 1/2 feet deep . I have not yet calculated the gallonage on this complex of ponds yet but a crude guesstimate tells me in the range of 4 to 5,000 gallons . There is to be creeks connecting the three . The largest to be yet set pond will have its top edge mid level between the two . So the top one at an elevation of about 2 1/2 , the second about 1 1/4 , the last near ground level . The creeks connecting them will be about 15 feet long so the fall rate close to 1 inch per foot .

# 5. Out in the "playground" are tanks, pipes stored . The largest one toward the front left is the 11" x 6" . That is the one to complete the front traffic island complex . There are two more 8' by 5' behind that one . The one in the fore ground center left is some 8' x 2 1/2 ' . Those three smaller ones will go to the BIG water feature .

Back to the traffic Island , it will likely have some fish aquatic plants . The plan calls for that entire feature to be covered with lattice work/trellis . An opening in the ceiling to allow trees to grow through . A shaded outdoor Arizona room .

The two already in the ground there have thier own bottoms . Tanks and bottoms consist of galvanized steel . The third large one is also galvanized steel but it is simply a rather large open pipe sleeve to be set so that the pipe is vertical in the ground . A 6" or so concrete floor poured into it . Then a sealant perhaps asphalt emulsion will be applied as a seal unless someone here advises me that would be toxic . A pump to be installed so that water drawn from the bottom tank will be pumped to the top so that the water recirculates from bottom to mid level back to bottom via creek courseways . Flagstone decking is hoped for slightly overhanging the top edges of the tanks . That is the dream/plan so far on that feature .

Suggestions/input?
Attached Thumbnails
Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070017.jpg   Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070018.jpg   Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070019.jpg   Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070021.jpg   Design suggestions for water habitat ?-p2070027.jpg  

lonediver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2010, 12:07 AM   #4
Heron
 
lonediver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Maricopa , Arizona , U.S.A.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Leslie View Post
Good for you - water is important!

I was having constant problems with my built-in swimming pool with creatures falling in and drowning, if I didn't arrive soon enough to pull them out. I found frogs, toads, lizards, skinks, spiders, bees, squirrels, a box turtle, fiddler crabs, and a shrew.

I solved the problem by draping fallen branches into the pool. (I should mention that at that point, I had quit chlorinating the pool and it wasn't being used for swimming.) I used fairly large branches, with the smaller branches attached, leaving parts underwater. These branches also served as resting locations and cover for tadpoles and water bugs, and the tadpoles fed on the algae that eventually grew on them. The bees would land on the sloping branches to drink - they need water, too! I also watched a little garter snake twined in the branches, trying to catch the critters in the water. This increased the wildlife in my yard to the extent that a barred owl began hunting the pool area.
Agreed water is very important . Three factors to creating most any habitat . With water being #1 , most life cannot sustain without it . Creatures die of thirst before they starve . Food and shelter come BEHIND that .

Glad to hear the branches worked for you , in a habitat design to me will look/create more of a natural feel than hanging planks in the water .

Somewhere I remember seeing where some fella deliberately set out to "convert" his largely unused swimming pool into a pond . Quite the conversion , A massive biological filter and such . Was it here I saw it ? If not I will see if I can find it again on the internet and post a link to it .

Any interested ?
lonediver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-11-2010, 01:23 PM   #5
A Bee's Best Friend
 
Gloria's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2009
Location: Chicago Illinois USA
Default

http://www.batcon.org/pdfs/water/bci...orwildlife.pdf

Above handbook excellent information about how to provide exits for wildlife, bats in particular.

Found at batcon.org
Water for Wildlife

I have a long narrow old galvanized water trough waiting to be utilized. Still looking for ideas.
Gloria is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2010, 01:46 AM   #6
Heron
 
lonediver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Maricopa , Arizona , U.S.A.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Gloria View Post
http://www.batcon.org/pdfs/water/bci...orwildlife.pdf

Above handbook excellent information about how to provide exits for wildlife, bats in particular.

Found at batcon.org
Water for Wildlife

I have a long narrow old galvanized water trough waiting to be utilized. Still looking for ideas.
OK Gloria ,

What plans/aspirations have you formulated for your tank so far ?

Maybe we can puzzle this out together ? Two heads are better than one, so they say .
lonediver is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2010, 03:20 AM   #7
Fox
 
Calliandra's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2009
Default

Hate to mention this, I really do, but if you bury the stock tanks at ground level, wouldn't desert tortoises get in and drown? They sink like rocks.

And how to keep the water clean? Hmmm. Because it will naturally be very warm, a good incubator for the bacteria dropped in it, and you can't just dump it out every day.

Here's a stock tank pond, looks like they added a filter: Garden Djinn: Stock Tank Ponds - Setting up, part two

Just a simple bird dripper is handy too. We had a homemade one in Phx, and most of the time we had six birds waiting in line for their turn. It was so funny: #1 would be at the dripper, #2 on the log, #3 on the fence, #4 on the pepper tree, #5 at the porch, #6 on the roof. When the one at the dripper finished, he'd fly off and everyone in line would move forward to the next station. It was uncanny. The thrashers wouldn't wait though, they'd just fly to the water.

In Sara Stein's book, I remember where Ms Stein visited someone in AZ who kept a half a water heater tank in her backyard. I wonder what she did?
Calliandra is offline   Reply With Quote
Old 02-22-2010, 07:23 AM   #8
Heron
 
lonediver's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2009
Location: Maricopa , Arizona , U.S.A.
Default

Quote:
Originally Posted by Calliandra View Post
Hate to mention this, I really do, but if you bury the stock tanks at ground level, wouldn't desert tortoises get in and drown? They sink like rocks.

And how to keep the water clean? Hmmm. Because it will naturally be very warm, a good incubator for the bacteria dropped in it, and you can't just dump it out every day.

Here's a stock tank pond, looks like they added a filter: Garden Djinn: Stock Tank Ponds - Setting up, part two

Just a simple bird dripper is handy too. We had a homemade one in Phx, and most of the time we had six birds waiting in line for their turn. It was so funny: #1 would be at the dripper, #2 on the log, #3 on the fence, #4 on the pepper tree, #5 at the porch, #6 on the roof. When the one at the dripper finished, he'd fly off and everyone in line would move forward to the next station. It was uncanny. The thrashers wouldn't wait though, they'd just fly to the water.

In Sara Stein's book, I remember where Ms Stein visited someone in AZ who kept a half a water heater tank in her backyard. I wonder what she did?
Hello Calliandra ,

Filters will definitely be part of three of my intended largest water features . A bird dripper/bath is two of the smaller ones that I had not yet gotten to fully describing . Those I had intended to put on battery operated timers so as to limit the times of day/night that they would be in operation so as to conserve on overflow/water consumption . These hardly need run through the night . Also by limiting the drip, birds would not be lined up as you described . Butterflies and many other insects I learned somewhere , enjoy the edges of damp soils . Unable to wade into deeper waters of any sort derive thier moisture and I seem to recall needed minerals from dampened soils/seeps.

Tortises while not here yet (though I had an unintended visitor a few years back , a sulcatta . The horned spur tortise (?) another invasive here . I was sitting out in my front yard relaxing one day . Looked over toward the habitats area when I thought I saw a large rock move . Being a mildly intelligent fella , I mulled this over a bit and It occured to me that "rocks" do not move by themselves > So being a curious sort I had to determine as to why this "rock" was a-movin' about . Was not a "rock" a movin' about , but a african sulcatta that had wandered on to my property .

Now down in Florida they have a problem with those boa constricters and such a-wandering about that careless owners intentionally or otherwise set loose . Well you spent time here . It is different , yes/no ? It seems that many a spur tortise owner does the same thing as the as those boa constrictor owner there do . When the critter get's too big/ornery , they set them loose in the desert ! Competin' with our native critters , our native critters are dwarfed by these beasts and out gunned . The sulcattas come with weapons . Spurs on thier shells and hevy raking spikes on thier legs .

African Sulcata Tortoise (Geochelone sulcata) Species Profile: Housing, Diet, and Care

Animal Planet :: Reptile Guide :: Turtles, Tortoises & Terrapins

Sulcata Tortoises

Problems with , impact of in the sonoran desert with Sulcatas ;

RMH Desert Tort

http://www.gf.state.az.us/w_c/documents/CAJ_thesis.pdf (long dry document)

Suffice to say that the Sulcata brutes are causing our dainty native guys many problems including that the sulcatas are carriers of an respiratory infection . . So our native desert tortises are threatened by ;

Habitat loss due to development

off roaders

non-native plants interfering with native plants as feed/food source for tortises

People taking tortises from the wild as pets

respiratory infection affliction spreading due to whatever reason/source.

and the sulcata brutes (males) can beat our native male boys up badly !

Not a good time for the native desert tortise !

Ok, where were we , it seems that we have gotten off topic as usual .

We were a-talkin' about water .

Oh , another point taken . It will be likely here for a number of reasons that I will have to install some low fences for the protection of the desrt tortises when I get some here . to keep them from wandering off among other things . Tortises are surprisingly fast when they want to be . Many considerations for many things have as of yet to still be figured out here so it is good to talk and discuss these things with others to straighten out my thoughts .

Lonediver still a-ponderin'
lonediver is offline   Reply With Quote
Reply

Tags
design, habitat, suggestions, water, water habitat, water habitat design

Thread Tools
Display Modes

Posting Rules
You may not post new threads
You may not post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is Off
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are On



All times are GMT -5. The time now is 01:02 AM.


Powered by vBulletin® Version 3.8.4
Copyright ©2000 - 2020, Jelsoft Enterprises Ltd.
Search Engine Friendly URLs by vBSEO 3.3.2