Monday, 3 February 2014

frog friendly ..?

In this, and other counties amphibian numbers have fallen drastically.

Maps of their distribution across Nottinghamshire show big gaps for even such once common creatures as frogs and toads. I'm afraid that intensive agriculture is probably to blame and frog populations are now concentrated around areas of human habitation.

Our aim at Cordwood is to create favourable conditions for as much biodiversity as possible and that includes amphibians.

We know that we have frogs and toads on site.

Smooth newts may spontaneously erupt as their eggs can be introduced in pond weed or by visiting water birds.

Son Dave once thought he had seen  a lizard although I have never seen one here. We know that they still breed locally although their habitat is threatened by housing development.

We have never seen grass snakes but know that they are plentiful 15 miles away.

And slow worms are restricted to a few locations in the county.

Such exotica as adders, palmate and great crested newts are highly unlikely anywhere near us.

'Pond' February 2014
But, we live in hope that we can at least build up healthy frog, toad and smooth newt populations that may then go on to repopulate surrounding gardens and field edges. One small encouragement was discovering toads and then finding that toads had not been recorded in this area before. If such common and widely recognised animals have dipped under the radar, who is to know what else could be lurking out there?

Here's our pond. Not in a finished state, but encouragingly holding its water level well, even without a pond liner. Presumably, the silt washed through from the soil has naturally lined the pond. Adam's suggestion at the weekend was to simply add an oxygenating pond weed and see what happens. I must say that the colonisation of a new pond would prove an interesting study for a local environmental studies student.

I hope to create other, smaller ponds and depressions around the site that will prove useful to passing wildlife.

Over in the orchard, we're hoping that the meadow we are creating will prove a natural home for amphibians too. Long grass and invertebrates should create a dynamite combo.

And ever-the-optimist, I'm creating mini-compost heaps and shaded areas, just in case other amphibians should
be passing by and want to stay.

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