Thursday, March 19, 2009

Spring Frogs and a Hedge

Last week I was prompted by a posting of a frog photo by Dean on his excellent blog Mostlymacro to go and check the pond in our front garden. Sure enough there were a couple of frogs in there laying eggs. I just knew that if there were frogs in our little garden pond, the large duck ponds up the road will be heaving with frogs. I was looking forward to getting the dog up to the ponds and see for myself.

The days are getting longer now. It isn't dark when I get home from work and I can once again, walk the dog in the evening. George came with me tonight as I made my way up into the woods with our dog Polly. The side road we turn onto to go up to the ponds has had some improvement since I was last on it. Someone is laying the hedge.
It is a skill to lay a hedge properly. One of our neighbours does this for a living and as this is the very road that leads to his house, I suspect that this could quite possibly be his handiwork. You can see that the hedge shrubs have been cut but not sliced all the way through and woven horizontally. The fact that the shrubs were not cut all the way through means that they will not die and they'll grow and make a thick and impervious hedge along that roadside. I remember being told that when the shrubs that make a hedge are cut and being laid down, they must always be laid straight across or uphill. If laid downhill, the plants will die. The frogs were very busy doing mummy and daddy things all over the place! We had to watch where we walked for fear of stepping on copulating frogs! They were in the grass, on the paths and in the road. There were frogs in the puddles as well as in the big ponds.
This water in this part of the pond has been almost completely displaced by frog spawn! George and I heard far away noises that I initially thought were geese flying north, but then we discovered that it was in fact the frogs singing! They're not the loudest frogs I've ever heard, but they do make some noise.
video

In the above clip you can only hear me bashing around and Polly splashing in the water. You can only hear the frogs if you turn the speakers way up. George, who is very observant, came upon what looked to be a ball of copulating frogs. A froggy orgy if you will. The faint frog calls are much easier to hear on this clip.
video
In nature, when there is a mass spawning of animals like this, the predators will be out in force as well. We made a couple of large pterodactyl sized herons fly off when we arrived at the ponds and I saw many prints that look like this:and this:
These are not fox paw prints. They are either badger or otter. Otters have been seen in the water near us for a number of months now. I'd love to see one!

So, spring is is here! Yipee!!

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