This time of year is always good for spotting frogs in the garden. This one was hiding in the front garden last weekend, behind some bags of sand. At first its beautiful markings made me think it was a female but its powerful front legs show that it’s a male.
What a beauty!
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!
Small Heath – Havannah nature reserve.
Peacock – Havannah nature reserve.
Speckled Wood – Havannah nature reserve.
Red Admiral – Holywell.
Scarlet Pimpernel – Holywell.
Harebell – Holywell.
White Melilot – Backworth.
Just a few photographs taken over the last few weeks of summer. I was especially pleased to find the White Melilot growing between Earsdon and Backworth – a new and unusual species for me.
Waders and Wall Brown butterflies were my hoped-for species at Holywell pond this morning but despite fine weather and oodles of suitable mud, neither were to be seen.
Holywell can be a frustrating place for the easily disappointed but luckily I am not that kind of person and I was pleased with a smart pair of Red Admirals at the end of my morning.
Disappointingly the farmer appears to have destroyed the small area of marsh in the centre of the field immediately east of the pond, no doubt with the intention of ploughing in this area for next year.
Though it was a relatively small bit of habitat it was great cover for Snipe and Grey Partridge and doubtless home to much else besides. It seems a pretty pointless act of destruction given that the area will surely flood again as soon as winter arrives.
The farmer had also trimmed the verge in one of the fields on the other side of the bridle way, just where I was hoping to find my Wall Browns…d’oh!
So here is a very nice Small Skipper. I haven’t seen too many so far this year, although one flew through the garden the other day, which is a first!
There has been some talk that the weather has made it difficult for butterflies in 2016, which I guess is possibly true, although from my own observations I would say it depends upon the species.
There have been plenty of whites on the wing lately as well as the second generation of Small Tortoiseshells. I have spotted loads of Ringlet butterflies this year too so the conditions must have suited them, whilst there have been far fewer Speckled Wood than in 2014 which seemed to be a bonanza year for all lepidoptera.
Plenty of time left for some nice weather however, so I look forward to many morebutterflies over the coming weeks.
What with the weather and work and various other obstacles I have not seen so many butterflies of late…still no Skippers this year and I think I have missed the first generation of Wall Brown butterflies that are normally on the wing from late May in this part of the world.
However, Ringlet and Meadow Brown are now out in force, including these two beautiful insects which were at Havannah nature reserve last week.
Roll on some warm sunny weather and there is sure to be plenty more butterflies on the wing…perhaps in time for the Big Butterfly Count which starts this weekend?
I spent some time in Gosforth Park nature reserve at the beginning of last week while the weather was still good. The bird life was fairly quiet, with the birds getting on with the breeding season but insects were abundant, especially mosquitoes!
It seems that the butterflies may be a week or two behind where they were at this time last year and that goes for some of the flora as well. However this Small Copper was a nice find amongst the buttercups and hawkbits by the screen hide.
A few orchids were thrusting their way up too, like this Common Spotted Orchid. I also managed to see the single spike of Coral Root Orchid which is currently showing…nice!