The Frog and Pond Diary

September - 2001

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1 September - This photo opportunity came when I was outside, screwdriver in hand in the middle of some woodwork. A buzzing(?) from the pond drew my attention to the sight of a Southern Hawker (Aeshna cyanea) female laying her eggs amongst the moist moss on the log in the pond. A quick dash to the house to get the camera and I was on my knees by the side of the pond watching her. Unfortunately lighting was not good, even with Sheila holding a reflector for me.

She moved from place to place on the log, her abdomen probing the moss at about 30-35cm above the water and appeared to be laying quite a few eggs. Click on the image for a larger (different) image - although the quality is not great it does show more detail.

I have rather neglected the pond since coming home from the holiday. Hopefully I can spend more time doing pond tasks in the coming month.

3 September - No photographs today, although I did get to see another Dragonfly, 'sunbathing' by the pond. This one was much smaller than the pictured above. Unfortunately it saw me before I got a good look, but it had a red abdomen and could possibly have been a Ruddy Darter (Sympetrum sanguineum).

We are going through a wet spell at the moment so the big pond is being filled to capacity with some regularity. While it is nearly always possible to see at least one adult frog in the pond, it is more usual to find them spread around the garden. During one downpour yesterday it was amusing to see five of them sheltering under a small shrub near the house.


14 September - At last I got round to doing some work in the pond today. I decided to start thinning some of the tall grasses that grow at one end. It is a slow process as I check ever bit that I pull out.

Amongst the roots I found a bivalve, numerous other small invertebrates and a half metamorphosed tadpole. The weed has lots of planorbis snails, and I came across this Pond Scorpion. In this picture it is finishing off a meal that it was eating when I found it. If you click on the image you will see a larger version of these pictures which lets you see more easily its red eyes.

Not strictly from the pond are these mosquito (Culex spp.) larvae. They are in a tray used to hold some flower pots. Again, click on the image to see a larger version.

I put these in my narrow aquarium, along with the water scorpion to photograph them. The Water Scorpion seems to be quite adept at catching them so I caught some more larvae to provide it with enough food(?) to see it through until tomorrow.




28 September - The pond continues to wait for me spend some attention to it. In the meantime, the main visible activity is carried on by the mature frogs that continue to reside here. Their croaks can be heard around the garden at most times of day, especially when it is raining.

At night you can always see some around the edge of the pond. Like this one, photographed by torchlight tonight, they stay still for long periods as they wait for meals to come to them!

A dragonfly passed by today without stopping and a pair 'in tandem' came briefly, dipping down to the water a couple of times before disappearing again. I was not close enough to identify them, although the male was brown and the female green(?).


29 September - After this morning's heavy rain had stopped I spent a couple of minutes doing a bit of pond dipping. It uncovered quite a few young newts, mostly 2.5-3cm long, and still with external gills. In a few cases the gills were quite small. It will be a while before I can start to clear some of the floating weed that is rather thick on one side of the pond.

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