The Frog and Pond Diary
October/November - 2001
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The sound of croaking from the pond has been heard throughout the day and I can see several adult frogs in their usual hiding places around its edges.
The picture shows a youngster (one of last years crop?), sitting on a Geranium leaf as it hunted for food last night. To give you an idea of size, the Dead Nettle leaf to its right is 12mm long.
12 November - A month since the last entry is not good enough!
Anyway, the last month has seen mainly mild conditions which have continued to encourage plant growth in the pond. Although the bigger plants have largely died back now the small pond plants still continue to thrive, and there are new shoots coming up from the reeds etc.
At the end of last week we had a cold snap. The bird bath froze over for the first time, but there was no sign of ice on the ponds. Yesterday it was mild again and at 10pm it was still 10C outside. The water temperature in the larger pond was 8C, warm enough for the frogs to be active. The picture shown here is of one of ten I counted in the more 'open' part of the pond.
The beam of my headlamp revealed that there was a plentiful supply of flying food around for the frogs!
During the week I shall try removing a small area of pond weed to see what is going on under the surface.
14 November - Over the last two days it has been colder and I have not seen any frogs about. Last night at 10pm the pond water temperature was down to 5C with an air temperature of 0C at the side of the pond on a clear, stary night. This morning at 9am the same bit of pond had cooled down to 3C with an air temperature of -2C. There was no sign of ice on the pond, although the bird bath was covered with ice for the second time this winter.
18 November - By this evening the pond had warmed up again after a few mild days, and at 9pm it was nearly 8C. I have heard the croaking of at least two frogs over the weekend and tonight (Sunday) I can see a large frog in the pond again.
20 November - I took the plunge today and started to thin out the mat of floating plants on the pond. My weeding session came to a quick halt when the first piece out brought with it this young newt, about 3cm long and still posessing a good set of external gills! It appears to be healthy and was returned to the pond as soon as its photograph was taken. Click on the image for a larger version.
Tonight, at 9pm there are frogs visible in the pond, as there have been each of the last few nights.
22 November - Tonight is colder, and with an air temperature of 3.5C just above the pond the pond water is 7.5C at 7.30pm. A check of the pond with my torch revealed a couple of frogs at the far side, so it is still not too cold for them.
By 10pm, with the sky mostly clear the air temperature at the pond had dropped below zero and the pond registered 6.5C. I could still find a frog at the surface, although it was in a more sheltered part of the pond.
23 November - Quick note - at 7.30pm the water temperature was 6C, the air by the pond 4C, and there was at least 1 frog looking alert at the pond surface.
This one was photographed by torchlight about 7.30pm tonight as the water temperature of 8C continues to encourage the growth of water plants, including the duckweed!
Click on the image for a larger version.
27 November - The last few days have seen me mostly out of action as a result of flu, so I have not been keeping check on the frogs. This morning there was the first heavy frost of the season but although the birdbath was frozen the pond temperature was 2C with no ice in sight. The frost disappeared very quickly and gave way to rain later on.
At 9.30pm I checked the pond briefly and there were the frogs again, three of them this time. The water temperature was registering 5C and the air above the water 2.5C.
30 November - The mild weather continues to encourage frog activity. Last night I saw five during a quick check of the pond. This morning at 11.15am, after a mild night the pond temperature is nearly 10C! Despite this there were no frogs in sight.
The cover of darkness and continuing mildness brought them out tonight, so I thought I should end the month with yet another portrait, this time of a juvenile (not from this year) that sped away the moment this picture was taken at 9.30pm. I counted five others before the rain drove me back inside.
On the bank of the pond I spotted another somewhat unexpected creature, active amongst the wet moss - a caterpillar (I think - I did not pick it up to check the number of legs). I shall try to ID it tomorrow.