Frogspawn and Frolicking Frogs

We have a small pond in our garden that sometimes yields frogspawn in late winter/early spring. Two of our keen-eyed grandchildren stayed overnight (16/2/24) and this morning spotted a dead frog - possibly this one. So no frogspawn in the garden for a second year.

The following morning was bright, though not especially sunny, dry and warm (13 ℃) - February has been very warm, so far, as Figure 1 shows. For the past four years, the average daily temperature for February has been 7 ℃; up until the 20th February this year, that average daily temperature has been 9 ℃.

Figure 1: A Very Warm February 2024 in Hereford

So it was a good day to visit The Weir Garden again. The snowdrops were just starting to go over and the daffodils were just starting their late winter/spring display (Photo 1).

Photo 1: Snowdrops and Daffodils at The Weir Garden (17/2/24)

There is a small pond among the rockery garden where we soon discovered a clump of frogspawn ...

Photo 2: Frogspawn at The Weir Garden (17/2/24)
... and, to the delight of the grandchildren and grandparents alike, there were six resident frogs. Video 1 shows one of them just chillaxing (an example of a portmanteau word).

Video 1: One Laid Back Frog Chilling Out in Front of the (Future) Kids

While Video 2 has a commentary from one of the grandchildren observing a pair of frogs cuddling. I'm not sure it is the responsibility of grandparents to explain the birds and the bees!

Video 2: Cuddling Frogs at The Weir Garden

A close up of one of the common frogs ...

Photo 3: Common Frog at The weir Garden (17/2/24)

The same pond was also home to another amphibian - common or smooth newts. There were at least two and possibly more.

Photo 4: Common or Smooth Newt (Weir Garden, 17/2/24) - Male?

Apparently, frogs and newts can co-exist in the same pond despite the fact that frogspawn and tadpoles are on the newt's menu and young newts are on the menu of tadpoles once they reach their carnivorous stage.

Photo 5: Common or Smooth Newt (Weir Garden, 17/2/24) - Female?

Here is a short Countryfile video showing the life cycle of the common/smooth newt ...

Video 3: Countryfile short with Iolo Williams of the life cycle of the common/smooth newt

Soon the daffodils will be in full bloom and then the wild garlic. These dominant plant species can overwhelm the more delicate species such as crocuses and scilla ... 

Photo 6: Scilla, Weir Garden, 17/2/24

... but, of course, the daffodils are wonderful especially in clumps or carpeting the open ground or woodland glades ...

Photo 7: Daffodils, Weir Garden, 17/2/24


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