We know when spring is coming when the frogs arrive back in the garden pond. Last year they were late (early March), but this year they are already back in force – first ones arrive earlier in the week.
There appears to be a little fewer than last year – about 100, compared to around 120 last year. They are not easy to count though so it is just an estimate!
Regular readers will remember we had plenty of frogs in the pond earlier in the year and lots of spawn. The tadpoles are now developing into little frogs. My youngest spotted a couple moving from the pond to the hedgerow.
A frog in the hand
They are so tiny. The fact that any of these creatures can make it to a full -sized adult frog is truly amazing. How big the world must seem to them!
Captivating may not be a word you’d immediately associate with frogs. However, we are spending a large amount of our meal times watching the frogs in the garden pond and my youngest is particularly captivated by their antics. Our kitchen window overlooks the pond and is a perfect place for observing them.
Yesterday’s count was an estimated 150! Last year there was 63, so it is a big jump in numbers. Today is damp and it looks like they are beginning to disperse, as there are a lot more sitting around the top of the pond, and moving away under the beech hedge and through the garden.
I love to see frogs in the garden as I know they will do their bit in keeping the slug population down.
So what is the story?
Well, the frogs are back in our garden pond. They actually first arrived over a week ago. But then the temperatures dropped and we had all that snow and they vanished. But yesterday they returned! I counted 99. Today, they are in such a mating frenzy I cannot count them! Trouble is as soon as you go out to take a photograph most of them disappear under water, so I cannot show you what it really looks like. Luckily, some are braver and not so photo shy – or perhaps they just have their mind on something more import, like producing the next generation!
The tadpoles have hatched and are growing quickly. They are concentrating themselves in dense clumps in the shallower water at one end of the garden pond. I suspect as they get bigger they will begin to move out.
In the picture below you can see some of the braver ones!
You can click here to learn a bit more about our Irish frogs.
There is a rhythmic sound coming from the garden pond. A kind of deep-throated, grunting croak. Yes, the frogs are back. In fact, the pond is pretty much heaving with them. Last year we counted 43. Yesterday my husband counted 63! I think that was the peak. It’s great to have them back though. A sure sign that spring is really here.
In Ireland, we only have one species of frog, the Common Frog (Rana temporaria). There is only one species of toad too. It is called the Natterjack Toad (Epidalea calamita), and it only occurs in the south. Our third Irish amphibian, is the Smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris). We sometimes see them in our garden and in the pond too.
It’s a good idea to encourage amphibians into your garden. They will eat lots of unwanted slugs. Having a pond is a great way to encourage them, but also think about leaving a few undisturbed areas with long vegetation and a log pile, as amphibians actually spend most of their time out of water.
For some good advice on creating a garden pond check out the Sussex Wildlife Trust Pond page.
To say the garden pond is heaving with frogs is a bit of an understatement! I used binoculars to help me count them today from the kitchen window. I counted 38 and I don’t think I got them all as there were probably some hiding in corners that I couldn’t see. Trouble is, as soon as you get close to the pond they head underwater and the zoom on my lens is not working. Thankfully there was one brave one – who was bold enough to pose for a rear-end and front-end view! Frogs are great addition to any garden, providing a valuable pest control service. Who wouldn’t want them in their garden?