This morning I made my daily check of the pond to see whether any frogs had appeared. No, still no sign of any. I did get a clear view of one of the resident newts for a couple of seconds so I am now certain that at least one survived the winter. It was in view too briefly to get a photo though.
There are a few fish in the pond and I spotted a couple of fry which cannot be all that old as they are about 2.5cm long. Just as I was watching one of them it suddenly started darting about very haphazardly. Closer inspection showed that it had been caught by a Water Boatman which was intent in making a meal of it. That took me by surprise as I hadn't thought of Water Boatmen as being carnivorous. At least not until I checked with Wild England.
I had been looking out for signs of 'minibeast' life in the pond and this was the first I have seen this year. By Summer there will be lots of Water Boatmen and Pond Skaters about.
Despite the thermometer showing 9 degrees my hands were getting frozen holding the camera so I had a quick tour round the garden and came back in for a well needed cuppa! On the way I could see that the catkins on the Corkscrew Hazel are now fully open and that a clump of Muscari were looking at their best.
A couple of days ago there were scores of small flies appearing everywhere and I thought I was photographing one on the inside of the kitchen window ... until I looked at the results. So - one unidentified bug, size about 9mm:
Well knock me down with a feather!! I thought I heard croaking a couple of days ago but saw nothing. I have just had another look in the pond as the Sun had come out again and there it was. A nice big dollop of frog spawn.
In the main pond:
As the fish in the pond normally dispose of the tadpoles before they are big enough to survive I had prepared a nursery pond in an old water feature with plants and water from the main pond. I have now transferred a lot of the spawn along with sludge and water from the main pond. Next job will be to build a secure area in the main pond for the tadpoles as they hatch. Easier said than done. I tried last year but all the tadpoles managed to escape into the main part of the pond and I don't think any reached maturity.
In its temporary home:
Nest Box Update:
What are the Blue Tits up to? Bits of moss in - bits of moss out. Bits of straw in - bits of straw out again. Feathers appearing - feathers disappearing. Gradually there is more moss appearing in one corner of the box. They are certainly still active in the box - just so much dithering!
Present state of affairs: