The Pond Diary 2005


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1 February - I spent three hours watching the pond during the day, hoping to photograph birds bathing - but was not successful. During that time I didn't see any frog activity.

However, by 7.15pm they were appearing and I was able to count eleven at that time, with two pairs of frogs in loose embrace. One pair had their backs to me but I was able to capture several images of these two.

I shall check the pond again before I head for bed - no more seen.


4 February - Yesterday there was a lonely croaking to be heard around the big pond, and last night I counted twelve frogs on another mild evening, with temperatures still over 7C when I took this photograph at just before 10pm.

It was the only pairing seen and, as before it was a gentle embrace with the pair not moving in the ten minutes I was by the pond.

Yesterday I took the decision to top up the water in the big pond as I was concerned that the shallow end was getting too shallow. It seems that the inlet pipe from the water butt was blocked so that what rain we had last month had not been finding its way to the pond.


Early this afternoon it was frantic splashing in the small pond that attracted my attention. A closer inspection revealed a group of at least three frogs, although only two are visible on the surface in this photograph.

Presumably the submerged frog is a female with these two competing to be the one that get the best grip on her!

While this was going on there wasn't a single frog visible in the big pond.


10 February -  This afternoon, under very dull, grey skies the outside temperature is a balmy 10.5C. There have been no frosts so far this month, and as the mild weather continues I have been wondering where the frogs are.

Over the last week I had seen a maximum of eight frogs at any one time, and they were silent, and it was no different this morning. However, when I looked out around noon today, I could see activity in the big pond - its coming to life!

As soon as I opened the kitchen door I could hear the first croaking chorus of the year.



It was difficult to count heads in the big pond as the frogs were in constant movement, but at one stage things calmed enough for me to be sure that there were at least 35 in there, with three more counted in the small pond.

Considering that I could only see four first thing this morning, it's amazing how they appear in these numbers a short time later.



This was the only frog that I could see out of the water. Judging by the duckweed decoration it was clearly not a new arrival.




12 February - In the last two days the frog numbers have shot up to over 70. Strangely, they are much more nervous and I have not been able to get close to them, which probably means that there are rather more than my estimate. At this stage, these numbers are well ahead of my records from all previous years. This doesn't surprise me in the mild conditions we have been experiencing.

Today we had a largely sunny day after rain last night that topped up the pond, and it has been mild again with the temperature getting up over 12C by mid-day. However, this evening, clear skies are ensuring that things cool down tonight and the forecast is for it to cool down over the next few days. It will be interesting to see the reaction of the frogs.

25 February - Since my last report the weather has played its usual trick on the frogs by turning cold.

As I was going away for a few days, I had set up a cctv camera to monitor the pond, just in case the frogs started spawning in my absence. I needn't have bothered. The weather turned cold that day (we passed snow on out journey) and the daily recordings revealed no activity at all.

The cold conditions have stayed with us with a few days, like today on which we have had small amounts of snow. These images show the ponds this morning - the snow and ice had completely vanished by the afternoon..

While it has been cold over the last couple of weeks, temperatures have rarely dipped below freezing and even when there has been ice on the ponds it has been broken easily by birds wanting to drink or to bathe, and hasn't lasted all day.


28 February - The month has ended on an icy note, with the coldest night so far this Winter.  The ponds remained covered with ice all day.



The picture shows the small pond tonight, after a light fall of snow earlier this evening. The forecast is for the present cold spell to last until next weekend.



Click on an image to see a larger version


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