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Spring is nearly here!

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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Mar 15, 2018 5:12 pm

Well, after several false starts the frogs have returned with a vengeance and laid masses of spawn over past four days; And they're still at it. I removed 16, (8 pairs) from Nexus late last night.
Both the smaller ponds have been used again and also the veg filter has some in, albeit very late.
Several single toads have also appeared last night, sitting on the garden path alongside Koi pond in the rain.
First appearance for the toads this year so they will very likely also have a problem with overcrowding.
The smaller newts are certainly not as apparent this year, I think the bigger newts (Great Crested) have eaten a lot of the smaller Palmate and Common newts last year as there does not seem to be as many about as normal for this time of year.
It's got to be good news for the frog and toad tadpoles!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Sat Mar 17, 2018 11:23 am

Winter is back, just as I thought spring was beginning to appear with the hawthorn hedges starting to show a hint of green and the birds in full song in the mornings. This morning we've had snow flurries with heavier snow showers forecast for tonight.

My frogs have been less active with only one set of frogspawn to date.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Mar 18, 2018 6:02 pm

JUST WHEN WE THOUGHT IT WAS SAFE TO GO OUT COLIN!
The Clwyd's once more wear a heavy mantle of snow and not just the Clwyd's, the garden was covered early this morning and still snowing up to lunchtime, the bitterly cold wind has now dropped though and the snow is slowly starting to disappear, again!
The summerhouse pictured below had lost about 75% of snow from the roof by 3 o,clock this afternoon so it is definitely thawing.
What a peculiar spring we've had so far this year, the frogs have experienced a stop-start, stop-start beginning to their breeding season and still it continues, we covered the two small ponds yesterday with polycarbonate sheets to protect the masses of frogspawn from the predicted heavy frost over next few days, what next will the weather throw at us?
My brother in Ontario Canada regales me regularly with the dreadful winter they have experienced this winter (and still are having) more heavy snowfalls recently and no signs of his daffodils emerging yet; yes, emerging, not flowering!
They have one peculiar winter weather phenomenon I do not envy, freezing rainstorms! it rains heavily then freezes on contact with the trees and power lines producing tons and tons of ice that pulls the trees and power lines down, it causes massive devastating damage when it occurs.
Just outside of Ottawa I was shown a whole copse of tall trees split apart and bent to the ground with the ice the winter of 2001/2002, I remember that was a bad winter!
The Canadians cope with snow and ice far better than we do simply because they get more, much more every winter so have the necessary equipment to deal with it.
Because of the weather that winter I hired a 4x4 long wheel base Cherokee Jeep and drove from Lester Pearson Airport Toronto to Ottawa on a late December afternoon, a distance of approximately 475kms and despite some snow showers did it in just over 6 hrs. (with a half hour break).
The Canadians, like the Americans, have wonderfully straight wide uncluttered roads that get you to where you want to be quickly and without fuss and also cars fitted with tyres that cope with their winter conditions!
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Summerhouse in snow 2018.jpg
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Sun Mar 18, 2018 8:50 pm

This is the sight that greeted me when I took the dog for a walk this morning.

Rose Lane Snow.jpg
Rose Lane Snow.jpg (113.89 KiB) Viewed 443 times


Although the lane is now clear of snow there's still some on the footpaths and the fields.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Wed Mar 21, 2018 9:07 pm

After the weekend's snow had mostly gone and the weather forecast was good I decided to have a day out with the camera in Snowdonia yesterday. While for much of the day the summit was in the clouds, it did clear completely in the afternoon for me to take this photo.

Snowdon.jpg
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The photo was taken from the miners' track, just past the ruined buildings. Did I make it to the top? Well, it was never my intention to go right to the top as I had the dog with me and the end of this trail has an awful lot of steps. Although only a tiny black dot in the photo there are 6 people on the summit. An enjoyable day out with around 40 photos taken of Snowdon and some of the nearby lakes.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Apr 04, 2018 4:06 pm

THE WASTELAND
April is the cruellest month, breeding
Lilacs out of the dead land, mixing
Memory with desire, stirring
Dull roots with spring rain
T.S.Elliot 1922


Elliot wrote 'The Wasteland' in 1921 whilst he received psychiatric treatment at a clinic in Lausanne. He was trapped in a loveless unhappy marriage to his first wife Vivienne and it is speculated that he wrote the poem partly in memory of his dead lover Verdenal a medical student who was killed in a naval battle in 1915 in the Dardanelles.
As Oscar Wilde would certainly testify to, homosexuality was not just illegal but very much frowned upon in the society of this time.
Whatever the reasons for it's being written, it is a superb twentieth century poem that stands head and shoulders above the giants of literature, a true classic!

The frogs continue to invade my Nexus and twice in the past week one has managed to get as far as the return pump up the 2" pipe and jammed itself in the Oase return pump impeller, bringing everything to a halt by tripping the electrics.
First time it happened Nigel had to come over from Prestatyn and dismantle the pipework to remove dead frog from pump as I was in the Glanclwyd.
Once sorted though we knew exactly where to look the next time it stopped.
I have put a piece of steel mesh over exit from Nexus so no more frogs in pump impeller!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Mon Apr 09, 2018 3:46 pm

THREE LOTS OF FROGSPAWN IN NEXUS THIS MORNING!
Just unbelievable this year, almost mid-April and they are still at it, we have tadpoles from first spawn swimming in both wildlife ponds yet the mating frogs still continue to invade my koi filter.
Several clumps were removed by my nephew yesterday from the back of veg filter before they hatched and tadpoles got washed into koi pond.

The spring fever has gripped the birds this last month and the dawn chorus is in full flood throughout the woods at the back of us.
The occasional and very wary visitor to our bird table has put in an appearance again recently in the shape of a bright green parakeet that first appeared from the woods quite some time ago.
I thought it was someone's escaped budgie when I first saw it flying out of the woods but since then I have seen a TV documentary programme with Iolo Williams who showed there is now a colony of Ring Necked Parakeets living and breeding in this area of North East Wales.
Anyone spotted one? tell the RSPB as they are monitoring their progress.
Someone spotted one in a park in Gresford Wrexham recently and there are some living around Wepre Park Connah's Quay, these have possibly spread from the established flocks breeding and feeding around Cheshire/south Manchester for the last few years, they're particularly well established in Sale Water Park and Timperley:
(Timperley has a life-size bronze statue of Frank Sidebottom!
Like the spread of the Collared Dove, the Ring necked Parakeet has spread rapidly up from the London/Sussex area and has reached as far up as Scotland, to Edinburgh, where will it end up?
Will we eventually see parrots in Norway? the 'stunned' Norwegian Blue Parrot from the Monty Python sketch springs to mind!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sun Apr 15, 2018 1:34 pm

One very important date for your calendars is coming up soon, The Peoples Trust For Endangered Species in co-operation with the British Hedgehog Preservation Society have designated 30th April to 6th May as:
Hedgehog Awareness Week!

This quite worrying news was on BBC Autumn Watch last year and also on Countryfile that the British hedgehog population has crashed by 50% since 2000.
Meanwhile we continue to remove the frogs from my Nexus every day, 5 live and one stiff this morning from outer activated K1, we also discovered this week a lot of toad spawn been laid on the floor of Koi pond and some has been pulled through bottom drain into filter and wound around central filter drum!
It really is messy trying to remove and save it.

My plum trees have just started to flower this past week just as the weather warms and I see and hear the bees actively engaged around the garden, a good omen for a decent crop again it would seem.
There is an old country rhyme linked to the flowering timing of apple trees:

If the apple blooms in March,
Do not for barrels search,
But if the apple blooms in May,
Search for barrels every day.

The obvious message here inferred is the earlier the apple flowers the less likelihood of a good crop, i.e. more cold and frost, less bees about in March.
My apples are way off from flowering yet!
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Sun Apr 15, 2018 7:17 pm

Interesting comment about the hedgehogs, walking the dog last night around 10 PM I saw my first hedgehog for many years. It was crossing the lane and when it saw us it curled up in a ball in the middle of the lane.

The dog went to investigate and quickly pulled back after his nose touched a few of the spines, luckily I had some gloves in my pocket and was able to lift the hedgehog and move it to the grass verge. It was still curled up in a ball when returned but had gone this morning so I think it's survived our encounter.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Sat Apr 21, 2018 12:31 pm

Quite worrying but we haven't spotted a single hedgehog since early last autumn! Normally they are triggering our security lights in the back yard by now but so far, nothing, no jobbies on the lawn either, that's normally their calling card. The important thing now is to try to bring the present dire situation with the disappearing hedgehogs to as many people as possible to enable the hedgehogs to survive. I have had it said to me in the past by an uneducated ignorant next door neighbour that hedgehogs are vermin that carry dangerous fleas, indeed the same 'gentleman' took a spade to one in his garden killing it. Fortunately he moved back to Liverpool soon after, I think I must have convinced the little ignoramus of possibly suffering the same fate as the hedgehog!
My brother was on the phone from Canada again yesterday, they really are having a bad spring, he said his lawn was still white with snow and the forecast was for more of the same!

The frogs continue to fall or jump into the moving K1 in my filter, it is now getting really annoying and time consuming, the tedious task of standing with a small net trying to catch dead or half dead frogs swirling rapidly around in the outer chamber. They are only at the surface for a split second and difficult to grab mixed with the K1.
I will need to make custom built ply or plastic covers over the two exposed areas where the frogs jump in. Even if I fit the lid on they can still get in to the moving K1. The downside is, they eventually die and sink to the bottom polluting the filter. Unfortunately they will not pass out of 1" ball valve drain for bottom of outer chamber therefore the only way is to physically remove them. I removed 7 dead frogs yesterday from Nexus!
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