The Frog and Pond Diary
December - 2001
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2 December - Just a brief entry to record the fact that I saw a frog in the big pond last night, before a hard frost(which disappeared quickly this morning) and another frog tonight. The water temperature was 6C at 10pm.
Also, after seeing four caterpillars last night (see garden diary) I could only see one tonight, and that was busy eating very damp grass in an air temperature of 4C!
5 December - Things are pretty quiet around the pond at the moment. I am not seeing frogs during the daytime, although I continue to find at least one frog at the pond surface each night.
This picture was taken at around 9pm, when the water temperature was 5.5C (air temperature 7.5C). It is the only frog I can see tonight and it is in a typical pose, right in the middle of the pond.
7 December - I checked the pond at 10.30pm and spotted two frogs in similar poses to that shown above. The water temperature is 5C and the air temperature just above the water is down to -1C, so they must have cold noses! In addition, there are two caterpillars feeding in their usual spot.
8 December - At 6.30pm, with the water temperature down to 3.5C there was no sign of the frogs, although there was one caterpillar active on the grass.
9 December - Just checked the pond at 9.30pm and there is actually one frog in sight, with the water temperature down to 2.5C and an air temperature of -2.5C. Not surprisingly, I could not see any caterpillars tonight - the grass is covered with ice crystals!
12 December - I have been distracted by other things the last few days. The weather has fluctuated between cold, foggy, damp conditions and some frost at night.
I have just been to check the pond at 9.15pm. The water and air temperature is about the same at just over 4C and there were three frogs that I could see, although I could not find any caterpillars. This morning I spotted a newt, dead on the driveway, suggesting they may still be active.
13 December - Tonight the forecast is for temperatures dropping to about -4C but at 9.30pm we still have cloud cover and an air temperature of about 3C and the water 4C.
The score tonight is frogs 2 - caterpillars 2. The picture shows one of the latter, feeding at the top of a stout blade of grass.
14 December - At 8.30am this morning there was a covering of ice on the pond for the first time this winter. While the water temperature registered as 2.5C the air temperature just above the pond was -5C under clear blue skies.
15 December - Tonight, at 7.30pm, with a thin layer of ice over the pond there is no sign of any frogs (water under the ice is at 2C). There are, on the other hand, four caterpillars feeding on the grass in an air temperature of 1.5C with a fine drizzle falling.
16 December - I checked the pond at 9.15pm, when the water was at 3C and the air 1C, with a cold wind. The ice had melted but there was no sign of the frogs, although there were two caterpillars feeding. One of these was a much smaller individual (of the same type), not seen previously. Also there was an earthworm out on the grass in the same area - a bit of a surprise.
18 December - Last night at 10pm the pond water was at 3.5C and the air 3C. Although there had been a film of ice in the morning that had disappeared and I could see one frog and there were two caterpillars in their usual spots.
Tonight, at 9.30pm there is one frog (not the same individual as last night) in sight but no caterpillars. The water temperature is 3C and the air temperature has dropped to -2C under a partially clear sky. There is no sign of ice on the pond.
21 December - A short 'catch-up' entry - night-before-last (19th) around 10.30pm I saw 2 frogs, 1 caterpillar. Last night, at around 10.45pm there was a covering of ice on the pond as the air temperature dipped to -5C (water 2.5C) so no frogs and no caterpillars about. The ice had disappeared by this morning.
Tonight at 9.45pm I saw 2 frogs and 1 caterpillar - the air temperature at the pond is 1C and the water is 4C.
23 December - Over the last two days the pond has become completely frozen over, so there is no activity to report on. The water under the ice is at 1.8C with the air temperature at -3C tonight.
24 December - The ice of the last few days has disappeared rapidly as milder weather returns. The water temperature is back up to 2.5C and at 9.30pm there were three frogs and four caterpillars in action. It looks as though we will see frogs on Christmas day!
25 December - Christmas Day - A really mixed day weatherwise ranging from +7C and pouring rain this morning to -3C by the pond, ground frost and a thin layer of ice on the pond - so no frogs tonight.
27 December - Last night I did not check the pond. Today has been a comparatively mild day and at 9.15pm the air temperature was over 5C and the water is back up to 4C. A check of the ponds revealed two frogs and although I could not see any of the caterpillars I did spot a young newt hunting among the moss plants.
This little character is about 4cm long and still has the remnants of its external gills. Click on the image for a larger version.
29 December - This morning, I spotted a change in the appearance of the Reedmace. It now looks pretty ragged as a result, I assume of a visit by a hungry bird.
A check of the pond at 9.30pm revealed no activity. Although the water temperature is 4.5C, the air temperature is -3.5C and there is a thin layer of ice on the pond.
30 December - Little to report as a layer of ice has remained on the pond all day, although a cold Northerly wind has been at work distributing the seed from the Reedmace.
31 December - A layer of ice remained over the pond all day so little to report beyond the continuing slow release of the airborne seeds of the Reedmace. At 10.30pm the temperature by the side if the pond had dropped to -7C and the water (under the ice) was at 2.1C
So no frogs available to croak a 'Happy New Year' message!