Tuesday, 24 March 2009

Bugs, Blooms and Frog Spawn

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.

Goldfish Fry

Water Boatman

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.

Corkscrew Hazel Catkins

Grape Hyacinths

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:
Frog Spawn

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:
Frog Spawn

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:
Moss in Nest Box


  1. That blue tit sounds like a housewife that can't make up her mind on the decorating :-) Great photos of the small creatures in the pond. I hope that you succeed with the tadpoles this year.

  2. Frogspawn at last! Well done John and what a remarkable picture with no glare from the water. Did you use a polarizing filter?

    Lovely picture of the corkscrew hazel - lovely tree in my view!

  3. Mick: Thanks for visiting. I nearly added a comment about he wanting the furnishing from Homebase and she from Ikea but I though better of it :>)

    Tricia: No polarizing filter, just the usual UV. Low angle for the spawn and virtually vertical for the fish. Luck really!
    I love the Corkscrew Hazel too. This year I gave it more breathing space by removing other plants which were choking its light so it should come on a treat now.

    I have a feeling that much of the spawn is not viable by the amount which has white dots but only time will tell but at least they came.

  4. Fascinating post John and very interesting pond photos, as Tricia said remarkably clear.
    I loved the catkin photo and your Grape Hyacinths are looking good, I took a photo of mine recently only to find there were a lot of weeds showing amongst them. So photo no good and a spot of weeding to be done!
    I have heard before how much time Blue Tits spend dithering whilst 'home making', I'm pretty good at dithering myself!!

  5. ShySongbird: It is remarkable how often things show in a photograph that we just do not notice when we are taking it. The weeds have really taken off this past couple of weeks. I spent about an hour spraying awkward ones which grow in tiny gaps in paving and concrete.


Thank you for visiting. Hope you enjoyed the pictures. Any comment, or correction to any information or identification I get wrong, is most welcome. John

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