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2017... and so it begins

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Suzi View Drop Down
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    Posted: 30 Jan 2017 at 6:10pm
Gone very mild here in East Devon (and thus wet), so at 6pm I got my camera and torch and had a look at my ponds. I've been looking since Jan 1st BUT really this is the first time with reasonable temps and the pond not actually being frozen over. I was pleased to see a newt but it was too quick to photograph. I shall go out again later and see if there are any about. No frogs about. 
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Suzi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jan 2017 at 10:58pm
Been out again and looked in the ponds and saw several frogs. On looking at my photos later I noticed a young newt and an adult - sorry murky pix as it was raining.




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chubsta View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 30 Jan 2017 at 11:11pm
I cleared my pond out today as it had pretty much been choked with silt and duckweed last year, found plenty of frogs in the silt whilst doing so - all were relocated under wood piles. What was very surprising was finding 2 sets of 'couples' where i presume a male was on top of a female in what to me looked like a mating pose. I was very surprised to see this as in each case they were at the bottom of the pond and it is still too cold for this behaviour here in the South east - has anyone else encountered this before?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Caleb Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2017 at 9:48am
Originally posted by chubsta chubsta wrote:

it is still too cold for this behaviour here in the South east - has anyone else encountered this before?

I've seen pairs in amplexus in my garden pond up to a month before they actually spawned, and occasionally seen pairs under the ice. 

Any reason why you put yours in a wood pile? I'd have returned them to the pond.

My first garden frog above the water surface this year was on the 17th Jan.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2017 at 6:06pm
Unfortunately after years of neglect i had to drain the pond - it used to have a fair few fish and weed in but the duckweed basically killed everything off at the end of last year, i was just left with a totally covered pond with smelly deoxygenated water beneath - all the weed died off which just added to the problems - i decided the best thing to do was to basically start again with it. I am waiting on the expected rains to refill the pond, in the meantime the best option for the frogs was the garden - calling it a woodpile is perhaps glamourising it a little as it is a pile of wood, pine cones and vegetation but at least it will offer very good shelter for the frogs for a few days.
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Suzi View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzi Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2017 at 11:09pm
Sorry to hear about your pond's demise. Duckweed is a real take over merchant. I had some nice starwort but it smothered over that. I'm not surprised it is grown as bio mass in places. 
I went out to look at the ponds tonight. It is very mild again - 11degC - and still raining. Several frogs jumped into the ponds but I didn't see them. 
Like last night I fired off some shots with flash but no torch (trying to be quick because of the rain). I then looked at the images on the computer. I saw a half hidden palmate newt in the larger pond but was surprised to see a GCN in the small pond. Looking at the image I put up last night I wonder if that was a GCN too. The feet looked likely. This is a poor shot in every way but one foot can be seen sticking through the weed. I won't now do any more photographing at night as I know it is not allowed. I just didn't expect to see a GCN so early in the year. Last year it was about Feb 22nd I think.


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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 31 Jan 2017 at 11:45pm
Originally posted by Caleb Caleb wrote:

Originally posted by chubsta chubsta wrote:

it is still too cold for this behaviour here in the South east - has anyone else encountered this before?


I've seen pairs in amplexus in my garden pond up to a month before they actually spawned, and occasionally seen pairs under the ice. 

Any reason why you put yours in a wood pile? I'd have returned them to the pond.

My first garden frog above the water surface this year was on the 17th Jan.


There was a first pair in amplexus a couple of weeks ago in one of my ponds, but i've not seen them since.

Well done on the newts Suzy.

Seen quite a few clumps of spawn in Cornwall. This is from yesterday but there were sightings last week as well. Mostly it seems to be over in this area, but still hearing a few males calling here and there too.



Tyre ruts (spawn is centre of pic) - typical Rt!

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chubsta View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote chubsta Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2017 at 6:02am
Apart from a single week where the frost didn't disappear we have had a very mild winter so far, hopefully it will continue through February. I was very heartened by the numbers of small frogs in my garden last year, the most i have ever seen, so with luck most will have made it through so far and it wont take the pond too long to get repopulated. 

I guess my next step is to sort weed out - i have saved a few bits of a massive lily that was dominating the pond, but everything else seemed to have gone apart from the dreaded duckweed. A trip to the local canal in a week or so should help i think...
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2017 at 7:18am
Hi Suz - the two in the top photo look like GCN too - looks like you have a proper population in the garden, and not just the odd outlier individual - niceThumbs Up
 
I'd agree with Caleb re the frogs - we tend to get several early pairs if there's a warm spell in January and then when it gets cold again, as it invariably does, they often remain clamped together for weeks on end, like Sting and Trudy Styler...
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 Feb 2017 at 7:11pm
Originally posted by will will wrote:


they often remain clamped together for weeks on end, like Sting and Trudy Styler...


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