It’s that time of year again when ponds boil with amorous amphibians, all seeking to find a mate and spawn.
The pond at the Northumberland Wildlife Trust’s tiny St Nicholas Park reserve must be one of the best places in the north east to witness the spectacle of frogs mating and they have finally arrived to begin their bacchanalian ritual.
It’s been pretty cold of late but the recent mild spell saw frogs begin to converge on the pond, in expectation of the start of a new breeding cycle.
As is typical, the males have arrived first to begin their croaking courtship ritual and these can be told by their pale throats and duller grey coloration.
There are some females though too and these are browner and have the typical mottled colours we associate with our common frogs.
Only a few had produced spawn at the beginning of last week but there is still plenty of time. What an incredible wildlife spectacle to witness at close hand!
…For wildlife. Okay, well maybe the garden anyway. During National Nest Box Week way back in February I decided to make a nest box for my own garden. It may now be too late to catch this year’s breeders – unless we get any birds which have been displaced from their original nests – but the box will still provide a useful roost for birds during the winter and will be in situ by the time next spring comes around.
Here are some pictures…before…
The nest box has been in place since the weekend, about two and a half metres above ground in our Holly tree. Hopefully it will generate at least some interest amongst the local avian population, even if it isn’t for breeding this year!
And here are some pictures of some other garden residents, one of whom is beginning to stir.
Seven Spot Ladybird (Coccinella Septempunctata) already up and about.
Seven Spot Ladybird still in hibernation. These are probably the best know of our UK ladybirds and are prodigious predators of aphids, both in the larval and adult stages. Apparently the resident UK population is supplemented by migrants during the summer -wow!