March 8th   Leave a comment

It has been very busy in my pond over the weekend. At least 12 full grown frogs jostling and croaking. The pond was scintillating constantly in the early morning sunshine as they chased each other. Then they would pause, often in a line all facing one edge of the pond – there is no sign of any females or any spawn yet – so perhaps they are still on the lookout. But the slightest disturbance and they dived down to the bottom of the pond, leaving no trace a few seconds later as the pond surface became smooth again. A frog is a well camouflaged thing in a weedy pond and even peering down, with my face just a few centimeters from the water, I couldn’t then see any sign of the froggy party. They could see me though because as long as I stayed looking, even completely still, they wouldn’t come back up to the surface. I had to go right away from the pond before they popped up again. It makes sense. A grey heron could clear out the frogs in my pond in a couple of sittings, and almost everything else from cats to foxes, even tawny owls, like frogs on the menu.

Frogs on the look out
and one mid-croak (WC)

The mallards on the rocky shore between Roome Bay and the Brandyburn will be on their way inland soon to find a damp ditch or burn to breed in. They are perfectly happy wintering by the sea. I watched a pair feeding very happily on seaweed (the thin filamentous algal kind that forms pale green slippery mats) around the old sea paddling pool today. But they never breed along the shore. I watched a trio of mallards later – two males and one female chasing over the fields at Wormiston. There are more males than females in most mallard populations and so there is intense competition. A lone female will be harassed by males until she pairs with one that can then see the other competitors off. This seems to take a while sometimes, and its an early spring sound to hear the quaking of mallards overhead as unpaired females are being chased. It’s only female mallards that “quack” by the way, males make a softer “qweep”.

A pair of mallards eating algae on the rocky shore at Roome Bay. There is a male wigeon roosting top left. (WC)

Posted March 8, 2020 by wildcrail in Sightings

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