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Spring is nearly here!

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Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Feb 28, 2013 8:46 pm

Last day of February and warmest yet but still no frogspawn, still the later it is the more likely it will suceed unlike last years!
Never did find out what caused the sterile frogspawn but if it happens again this year I shall get one of my nephews on the case. He has a doctorate in all things poluting water so will know what to look for.
The long dry mainly sunny spell over last two weeks is a pleasant relief from the previous continuous deluge of late and yet people are still waiting to move back into their homes in St Asaph after Novembers disastrous floods, speaking of which, the game fishing season starts in two weeks so I will find out soon if there are any trout left in Elwy after floods.
No signs of newts in veg filter, cleared debris out and cut watercress back in readiness for springs new growth but early days yet as this dry period has also brought clear frosty nights with temperatures of minus 3 or 4 degrees.
Below average for time of year apparently but cold has stopped my plum trees from flowering early this year unlike last years disaster ie 5 plum trees all flowered yet only 3 plums on one tree result of one of hottest Marches on record followed by freezing cold wet April. Don't you just love our British weather.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Fri Mar 08, 2013 3:02 pm

Been out today giving my small wildlife pond a long overdue clean up to remove all the autumn leaves.

Two large clumps of frogspawn were floating in the water and, when I started netting out the leaves, mixed in amongst the leaves were a couple of frogs and a total of 5 common newts. The newts should have plenty of food once the frogspawn hatches,

Colin
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Mar 13, 2013 1:33 pm

Tuesday 5th March found three lots of spawn followed by mass bonking over next four days as male frogs called from dawn to dusk.
Then as suddeny as it started all the frogs dispersed and have left an amost solid raft of frogspawn about two feet square, amazing considering small size of wildlife pond.
I would estimate there is at least twelve lots of spawn in the lump which is covered with a piece of 25mm polycarbonate at the moment to keep from freezing due to last three nights of heavy frost.
I'm trying to give them a fighting chance at least after last years none hatching spawn.
Found several tiny newts from last years crop nibbling on spawn already alongside adults.
Never seen them so small this time of year so I asume they are under developed due to no frog tadpoles to eat and then short supply of flies and fly larvae through rest of year due no doubt to excess rain and cold of one of the wettest summers on record.
Fingers crossed for a much better ie warmer drier summer this year.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Tue Apr 09, 2013 12:44 pm

I'm amazed at how resilient the frogspawn's been in my little wildlife pond. After being frozen solid for much of the last two weeks most has survived and the tadpoles now look close to hatching out fairly soon.

Frogspawn.jpg
Frogspawn.jpg (111.6 KiB) Viewed 12803 times


No sign of the 5 newts that were in the pond prior to the snow, hopefully they're still under the leaves at the bottom of the pond.

Colin
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Wed Apr 10, 2013 2:34 pm

What are the white spots in picture?
The newts in my pond are busy eating the frogspawn but I dont know whether they eat jelly as well, they always seem to be busy around frogspawn when I lift piece of polycarbonate up thats covering them at the moment.
Mine are slightly in advance of yours judging by photo but that will be caused by mini-climate under polycarbonate cover I suspect. Only one toad spotted yet but early days due to cold spell.
Kingcups now coming into flower despite freezing night temperatures but last two nights have been frost free so the check to plums seems over as fruitbuds are swelling fast. I reckon about a fortnight to flowering all being well, hope to do better than last year, 3 plums from 5 trees!. Planted two more cherry trees and 3 apricots so hedging my bets somewhat this year.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby roselanekoi on Wed Apr 10, 2013 6:13 pm

I'm pretty sure the white spots are infertile eggs in the frogspawn, You get a very similar effect with the koi where the infertile eggs look similar,

Colin
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Fri Apr 12, 2013 5:32 pm

Thanks for that Colin, on closer inspection this morning I noticed a few blanks in the spawn but nothing like last years though. The breeding toads have put in an appearance at last, two pairs coupled up to now, one pair on floor of my filter house when I opened door this morning, almost trod on them!.
Our resident hedgehog put in an appearance also the night before last tripping the security light, he got a good feed of dog food. We know its our normal one as he is not fazed by us going out to feed him, there is also a female comes in from time to time but it is much more timid despite being almost twice his size. Word of warning to anyone with hedgehogs in their garden, do not give them milk or cat food ! its too rich for them and gives them the trots, cheap dog food like Chappie is fine. I don't think there is anything eats slugs and snails faster than hedgehogs, the gardeners ally without a doubt but don't be tempted to pick them up they carry an impressive army of flea's!.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Apr 16, 2013 11:28 am

The toads I found last week on floor of my filter house apparently returned back to filter house from wildlife pond where I put them and climbed up side of Nexus (presumably still coupled) and laid strings of spawn in centre of filter on top of static K1 filter medium, amazing !. Found it this morning flushing filter out, first and only toadspawn this year up to now. I managed to unwind it from K1 and put it in the wildlife pond.
The frog tadpoles are mostly hatched now and moving around bottom of pond feeding on algae.
The adult newts seem to be gathering prior to mating and showing interest in each other. I saw 5 Common newts mostly male moving around in a small group early this morning, no signs of any Palmate newts yet nor spotted any Crested newts swimming in koi pond this year, they are attracted to the deeper water and never go near wildlife pond as its far too shallow for them at 9 or 10 inches, they breed in the pond in the field at the back of our home thats ideal for them as its quite deep with no fish in.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Thu Apr 18, 2013 5:53 pm

Solved the mystery of how the toads got back in Nexus, found one this morning swimming up four inch pipe from bottom drain in pond, also found a three footed frog (lost most of a hind foot) taken up residence on top of Nexus and busy doing a very important job of fly catching. Still seems to swim ok albeit a bit lopsided. I leave lid off Nexus from start of warm weather as it gets a bit pongy underneath otherwise as anyone knows who has one, also its simpler to check at a glance this time of year that everything is flowing smoothly.
Found the Palmate newt males today in pond for first time, its the only time of the year I can tell them apart from the Smooth newt males as they develop black partly webbed hind feet and a ridged tail and back and a sort of tiny spine on the end of their tail. They use this as a Ken Dodd style tickling stick to tittilate the female in to an amorous response, he needs to as he then entrusts her to pick up his sperm package he deposits in front of her on floor of pond, bizzare or what!
Put salt in pond this week as buffer as my water tests show nitrate climb so, erring on the side of caution, I used half normal dose rate of 150 grammes per hundred litres and will re-test levels later on today.
The predicted 50 mph winds blew my heavy wooden arbour seat over last night so I think the met office got it wrong again as it had to be at least 70mph to shift the seat, the woods at back of the house kept me awake until 4.00 am with the incredible roaring noise from trees, I think its the Scots pine trees that make the most noise, I've stood underneath them in a strong wind and it really is scary but at the same time awsome seeing the trunks sway.
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Re: Spring is nearly here!

Postby pollygog on Tue Apr 23, 2013 7:55 pm

Had an interesting email from a Matt Ellis who is the Senior Species Officer for Natural Resources Wales an Environment Agency division based in Mold. One of the things he mentioned was that the deadly chytrid fungus had been discovered in Talacre, too close for comfort!. This is one of the diseases I wrote about in an article about frogs last month, it causes the extinction of amphibians in the wild.
Spot on with my prediction with the plum blossom flowering on the tenth of this month, my Victoria just starting to flower today and other plum trees showing white buds.
Saw first swallows on Sunday while fly fishing on the Elwy, dozens of them swooping around river after tiny Chironimid midges that were hatching, caught nowt but saw two Brown Chaser dragonflies whilst I was fishing and later on two Merganser ducks, dull overcast day but interesting nevertheless. Fishing again on Tuesday but over at Graiglwyd Penmaenmawr, much bigger class of fish there and speaking of big fish my koi have started feeding with a vengeance all up and looking for grub this last few days.
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