The Frog and Pond Diary

May - 2002

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2 May - I haven't had too much time to spend by the pond in the last couple of days, but today the presence of several of these Hoverflies could not be missed.

The picture shows a Helophilus pendulus resting on a leaf floating in the pond. Its body is just over 1cm long.

Click on the image for a larger version




16 May - There has been too long a gap in this diary, but the pond is thriving despite the lack of entries. Today the frogs seemed to enjoy the sunshine on a very warm day, both in the water and on the banks. Tonight it is still warm and they are very active.

I have just spent some time (9.30pm) watching activity in the pond. A female newt was busy folding a leaf around an egg she was laying. At the beginning of the week I spent some time thinning out some of the floating weed and I was a bit surprised to find only a couple of newt eggs in it. There are plenty of newts about, as I have just seen and egg laying will go on for another month at least. I have found a couple of newts dead in the garden over the last couple of weeks, but I don't think there is anything to be concerned about.

A small, probably young newt was obviously hunting and decided to eat one of a group of small grey flatworms that were moving about suspended from the water's surface. It was obvious that the newt found its taste very unpleasant as it was spat out immediately and the newt spent a short time shaking its head vigorously. The flatworms seemed to have been attracted to a dead insect that was floating on the water.

The spot I was watching is shallow and on the bottom I could see several very thin, small wormlike creatures protruding up about 1cm from the mud and waving about in the water. I shall have to watch out for them in the future.


17 May - Today, while the weather has not turned out as sunny as was forecast, a touch of brightness appeared over the big pond as the first of our Yellow Flag Iris plants came into flower. It will soon be followed by several more.

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The frogs in the pond are a pretty healthy looking lot but occasionally I come across one that has lost the sight of an eye.

We had one individual in this state that survived without major problems for several years, so hopefully this one will manage to go on for a while.


22 May - Just a short entry with a long picture today!

Strong winds meant that today was not the best for taking plant pictures, but I thought I should include this image of the first of our Branched Bur-reed (Sparganium erectum) coming into flower. When the weather calms down I shall take some more detailed close-up images. I first recorded these flowers back at the beginning of June last year.

The Flag Irises have got going now with eight flowers opened so far.

On the weekend I took out a bit more of the pond weed that was becoming too dense at the side of the pond. This time I did find more newts eggs, on plants around the edges of the mas of weed.

When the Blue tits have fledged this week I will be able to give the pond more time, hopefully getting some more close-up photographs.


26 May - The main part of the big pond has a leafy cover now thanks mainly to two plant types, the Fringed Water Lily (rounded leaves) and one of the Pondweed species (Potamogeton sp.). I must get round to deciding which one it is.

The Pondweed is now sending up its flowering stalks, although the small. inconspicuous .flowers are only just starting to open.

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I had hoped to spend a bit more time by the pond today, but the afternoon has turned out to be mainly wet as the showers follow each other in quick succession.


28 May - Not a find in the pond this time, but in a earthenware bowl, half full with rainwater. The shape of the bowl is such that the adult Water Scorpion would have had to fly to it. It has now been put into the pond.

Usually pictures show the long 'tail' as a single hollow structure, which it uses as a snorkel. The picture of this individual shows it to be in two halves (shown more clearly in the larger image).

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