Friday, 11 March 2016

froggy went courting' ..

Love is in the pond here at Cordwood. 

My guess is that two years ago and for the sixty that preceded that, there was no frog love here at all: there was no water. But last year we had frogspawn - presumably the first...? And having had this success, were hoping for more this year but as we constructed George's Pond I had to move frogs that were hibernating in the pond mud from danger - and into a small pond built in the 'Hot Border'.

Garden ponds have become increasingly important for our amphibians and other wildlife as wetlands and water have been lost in our countryside. A distribution map of Nottinghamshire shows frogs being concentrated around centres of human population with huge empty areas coinciding with the monoculture of intensive farming.
Water is vital if we want to encourage wildlife.

But would our frogs survive their early wake up call and take to their new home?

As with virtually all pond custodians, I couldn't wait to see the frogs emerge and begin their courtship rituals which are basically lots of showing off, loud burping and the locking together of bodies and thrashing legs. Much like any Saturday night in Nottingham I guess.
And tonight, torch in hand I visited the little pond and was rewarded with this sight... A male and female in a clinch.


When one of our kids was smaller they enquired of Jill whether this was how human babies were made. She answered 'Not in ponds'. Those were the days. I remember the burping so well.

Phenologists love events such as the spawning of frogs.  'Phenology is the study of periodic plant and animal life cycle events and how these are influenced by seasonal and interannual variations in climate, as well as habitat factors'.  And they can use the wealth of froggy data gathered across the country to measure the advance of climate change.

Unfortunately we can't add much in terms of previous years' data, here at Cordwood but as soon as my burping and thrashing frog friends spawn, the world will know!!

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