First Frogs

Emley Moor transmitter seen from across the Calder valley from Horbury, 11 a.m.
Emley Moor transmitter seen from across the Calder valley in Horbury, five miles to the northwest, 11 a.m.

2.30 p.m., overcast, merest hint of drizzle, 51ºF, 11ºC: Frog activity has started again in the pond. I counted seven but I guess there are ten in all, hidden in corners.

greenfinchIn the branches of the crab apple a greenfinch gives its nasal intake of breath through clenched teeth call – ‘Jeeeez!’

female blackbirdBlue tits continue to take an interest in the nest-box. Two female blackbirds fight it out by the shed. A male hops in between the two of them, as if to say ‘now cool it down.’

We two frogs together clinging

frogsThere are two frogs at my feet, one clinging to the other at the edge of the pond. I’m relieved to see the elegantly wafting tail of a male smooth newt in the depths below. I did wonder whether the female blackbird that developed the knack of catching them last year had eliminated them altogether.

Newt catching last year.
Newt catching last year.

I cleared overhanging plants and a lot of the pondweed a month ago so if the same female returns this year, she won’t be able to perch on so much emergent vegetation. I’ve left a big clump of pondweed in the deepest section so there’s plenty of room for the newts to hide.

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