Orgy. Orgy. Orgy. Oi. Oi. Oi.

March 12, 2017  •  Leave a Comment

“There’s one antidote to gloom and despair that never fails: the wildlife that got us all going in the first place. It’s brilliant, beautiful, bewildering, intriguing and inspiring. We’ll probably do a lot more good if we spend more time outside engaging with it, rather than inside reading about or watching things (on TV) that make us angry….”

 

The ‘phibs are on the move.

On the move to jump into their slimy, boiling, writhing orgies of March.

 

I’ve written about toads on this website before  (five years ago to be exact) so please visit THIS BLOG POST to read about a much-maligned beastie and a real favourite of mine.

About two weeks ago I noticed that the night time temperatures locally were going to remain over 10C for the first time this year – AND we were going to get a little rain overnight – both would mean a certainty of toads moving en masse from their wintering grounds (woodland generally) to their traditional breeding ponds.

The video below (excuse the fruity language) shows my efforts in helping a few of our local toads (and a palmate newt) cross the road on their annual breeding migration.

It’s not just toads though – it’s newts and frogs too – and frogs seem to be spawning a couple of weeks or so earlier in 2017 than 2016, at least in this part of the world.

Our pond is a boiling mass of writhing ranids at present, and last night’s 98% full moon got them singing like their lives depended on it.

The photos below were both shot with my new camera (well… new to me anyway…a 2nd hand full frame 6D). The first photo shows 40 frogs in just part of our pond (the 2nd photo shows how I came to that number by putting a pink circle between the eyes of each frog I could see).

 

I think we probably have double that number of frogs in our pond at present and it really is a very small pond at around 8 feet by 5.

The sharp-eyed amongst you will note that a good number of 'our' frogs are exhibiting clear signs of ranid herpesvirus 2.

I blogged about this disease some time ago too – you can read more about it HERE if you so wish – please do check your own ponds for signs of this disease on your frogs.

Apart from the rampant herpes in our pond, I still think the digging of our own wildlife pond as soon as we moved in 5 years ago has been the most successful addition to our garden in terms of wildlife. A huge success which I’m very proud of.

This year, the boy has suddenly become very interested in the frogs in his garden – which was one of the biggest reasons to dig this pond after all – to get him experiencing, looking at and thinking about wildlife; and we spent a good time yesterday morning counting all the frogs that he could see - I think we got to twelvety.

Everyone who we spoke to when I started digging the pond (when Anna was pregnant) said we were mad – parents of babies and toddlers fill their garden ponds and certainly DON’T DIG THEM!

True to form, I disagreed. Strongly.

The pond is fenced off at present (but that’s mainly to stop hens and herons getting their pesky beaks in, although the ‘phibs can come and go as they please) and Ben will be able to get himself out of a garden pond should he fall in before too long, if he can’t already (pretty sure he can!).

The HUGE advantages (of getting outside and learning about other life forms in his own back garden!) far outweigh any supposed risks I’d argue… until I couldn’t argue anymore and I couldn’t imagine two better parents to teach him all about the wonderful wildlife that surrounds us all.

 

 

Anyway… enough trumpet blowing… the movement of the ‘phibs in March is an exciting, optimistic time of year – Spring is rapidly approaching and we’ve almost made it through another winter!

I hope your ponds are doing as well as ours!

 

TBR.

 

 


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