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11th February and mild weather brought the first sighting of frogs on our ponds, I counted 10 on that day. By the next day there were several dozen swimming about, although you could not here much in the way of croaking at that stage.
However, the following days saw a return to colder weather and the frog activity ceased as quickly as it had started.
6th March brought a return to milder conditions and the re-emergence of the frogs. Their croaking continued late into the night. The next day saw more arrivals and a great deal of activity in every corner of both ponds.
I was able to count 70+ frogs on the 9th March. Frantic pairing tussles were taking place all over the pond and during the day the first small clump of frog spawn appeared.
Some of the spawn is deposited so thickly that it is piled up out of the water, against the bank
More spawn was also appearing in the deeper part of the big pond now, in the part that was the the main spawning area last year.
On the 13th March I caught my first glimpse of a newt in the pond as it popped up to the surface to breathe in the middle of a group of frogs. The newts bred very successfully last year so I hope to see a lot more of them as the season progresses.
By the 14th March there
was definitely less croaking and the frogs did not seem to be
chasing each other with the enthusiasm seen just a few days ago.
When I looked out I could see dozens of frogs but they were all
just 'hanging about' and for much of the time the water surface
16 March - There is still some mating action going on in the pond, but I think that most of the frog spawn has now been laid.
Image of the day has to be this one of the first toad to be seen in the garden this year. The trouble with arriving alone at a pond full of frogs is that anything that moves gains a friend! While the toad looks completely disinterested the frog hangs on as though it's life depends on it.
18 March - The cold weather (max 5C) does not
encourage frog activities! I have only seen one near the surface
of the pond all day.
20 March - Not just cold (max 1C)but snow today, and no frogs or other animal sightings in the pond today.
21 March - A little less cold (5C), no activity again today
March - With the air
temperature up to 8C by 9.30am there are frogs appearing again
in both ponds this morning. By the afternoon the temperature
was up to 13C and the frogs were popping up everywhere in the
ponds. It is funny that even though they do not spawn in the
small pond there are always quite a few frogs in and around it
throughout the spring and summer. Whenever there is a glimmer
of sunshine you are sure to find them sunning themselves, often
in groups, on the vegetation that borders it - these three are
in a typical pose. There were four others just out of shot.
23 March - A wet day today with the temperature
dropping back under 10C and only limited numbers of silent frogs
Out in the garden this evening with headlight on, I counted at least 16 newts patroling both ponds. This was my first chance to get a newt picture this year.
24 March - Another dull day with air temperatures
staying under 10C has seen the frogs disappear again! There has
been not a ripple as I walk pass the ponds.
25 March - Temperatures continue to stay low and so frog activity was very limited. An inspection of the pond after dark revealed seven frogs at or near the surface. The newts were more active as they moved in and out of the submerged plants near the edges of the pond.
Here is a male, you can see
the outline of the small crest along its back. It's hind feet
seem to be somewhat webbed which suggests that it is a palmate
newt, but I will need to get a couple more photographs of the
males to see more details before I am sure.
March - Some sunshine
this morning was enough to start bringing the frogs back to the
surface. The last couple of days say only occasional sightings
of them and even newt activity was very limited.
When I returned the frog spawn
I found some lake limpets (Ancylus lacustris) on a piece
of plant stalk that I removed from the pond. There is a large
population of these in the big pond. Each one measures just under
29 March - Nothing of note today, although I
was surprised that even with warmer weather and sunshine the
frogs stayed largely out of sight.
Frog & Pond Diary index.................................................Next Chapter