We’ve had a few days of beautiful dry and sunny weather. My mum said she heard the local weatherman report that the North West only had three days without rain between October and February so you can imagine how pleased we are to see blue skies!
To celebrate Mr Stoatie and I took the netting off the ponds before the frogs decided to get amorous and move around looking for fun – we have a constant worry that they might get trapped in the nets if we leave it too late. There was just one female frog in the large pond closest to the house, but the small top pond had seventeen snoozing in the mud and leaves, including a couple who were clinging together. It is always difficult trying to hold frogs at the best of times, but mucous and mud coated ones add extra comedic effect. As did the layer of ice that came off with the net and which meant we also struggled with freezing cold hands.
It doesn’t seem to matter how we organise the poles and floats, or how tight we peg the netting, leaves still seem to gather and sink below the surface, and that’s where the frogs choose to dream out the winter. At least we can hoick the leaves out easily, oak takes so long to decompose that they’re still intact too.
The photo above is one I took for a facebook challenge – to post a nature picture every day for seven days. It’s the reflections in the top pond, taken before we removed the netting. The wind ruffling the net created some wonderful effects. I’m only half way through the challenge, it’s making me really have to look at the garden carefully (since I haven’t been out anywhere interesting), which can only be for the good. My other pictures so far are:
A Collared Dove. When we first moved here, we used to have 10-15 of these Collared Doves in the garden at the same time. As the Wood Pigeons increased, the doves disappeared, and now we only have a single pair. The species are Southern European in origin, but have been slowly spreading northwards (an early climate change indicator maybe?) The first pair arrived in the UK in the mid 1950s and their descendants have been spreading round the country ever since. I wonder if they’re getting crowded out now the farmers don’t shoot pigeons anymore.
Early Crocus. We have several clumps of these around the garden now, they seem to self seed easily which is great. The other blooms we have out at the moment are snowdrops, polyanthus, heather, and a completely out of sync liverwort!