The Frog and Pond Diary

July(first half) - 2001

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1 July - The start of a new month and this morning I took advantage of morning sunshine to get a few closups of some surface inhabitants of the pond.

A month ago I took a picture of a very young pond skater. This one is still not at the adult stage but in the closeup you can see its developing wings. Its body is about 7-8mm long but its legs span something like 25mm.



There seem to be two types of fly that spend a great deal of their adult life on the surface vegetation. This first one is about 8mm long. These flies' metallic colouring catches the sunlight as they chase each other about over the pond surface. Mating is a brief affair, making it difficult to catch with my digital camera. Hopefully identification will come later.


In contrast, these flies seem to spend most of their time moving about on foot. Their bodies are about 2mm long (3mm including folded wings). When two of them are close you often see them moving sideways, crab-like as they approach each other. Again, I have yet to try to identify them.



Spiders like this one are often seen patrolling the pond surface, using the duck-weed as stepping stones.





Back on 7 June I included a picture of the female 'umbrellas' (Archegoniophores) of the Liverwort. This is one of those umbrellas this morning. The yellow stuctures underneath the umbrella are releasing spores. Perhaps I will be able to include a close-up of these later today.




4 July - On a hot, quite 'sticky' day the frogs spent a grest deal of their time out on the banks of my big pond yesterday, gathered in groups at their favoured spots. I could not resist getting in close with a few of them to get this shot.




A couple of days late, but here is a closer look at the liverwort spores.



Although it was not a good image, I thought I would compare their size with the wind borne pollen grains of a couple of other pond plants. The scale is provided by the the interval between the 0.5mm divisions on a steel rule.



10 July - A damp, miserable day has curtailed most activity in the garden, but a brief pond dipping has allowed me to record the progress of this tadpole. Well on the way to becoming a frog it has well developed legs, enabling it to climb the vegetation and its head is becoming more flattened, and frog-like with bulbous eyes. However, it still has a powerful tail that it uses to swim when disturbed. It measures about 28mm in length.

The tadpoles generally seem to be making slow progress with many still having no legs.


The developing newts seem to be thriving,with large numbers of young in all parts of the pond. This is one of the larger ones spotted this morning. Still sporting large, feathery external gills, it is about 20mm long.





11 July - Today we have been experiencing unusually strong winds which include gusts of 40mph (recorded at Farnborough). The ragwort has been staked (that was blown over yesterday evening) and, just in case the Reedmace goes the same way, here is a picture to show how much the flower spike has changed in the last two weeks.

The male inflorescence is withering away, while the female part has become thicker and has changed in colour from green to brown.

When I pulled a small amount of weed out of the pond it had two Orb-shells on it, one very small specimen and this one.

The picture shows it in the process of moving across the bottom of a container. The long white 'foot' was extended to greater than the width of the shell before being contracted quickly to pull the shell forward.

At the right of the shell you can see two tubes (siphons). One of these, the inhalant opening, is used to draw in water carrying oxygen and food particles - I think this is the slightly pink one. The other, exhalant opening allows water containing excreta from the anus and kidney to leave.

15 July - A brief entry with a little bit of important news!

Here is the one of the first of this season's froglets that I have seen heading for land. There were others in the vegetation by the side of the pond but this was the only one I found out in the open, not having yet reached the side of the pond. It is about 1cm long.

In the meantime there are still many that remain well and truly in tadpole form.

Frog & Pond Diary Index...................LLast Month...............................July (part 2)