Hopping along to see the next froggy generation

PUBLISHED: 10:59 14 March 2018 | UPDATED: 10:59 14 March 2018

Doing what comes naturally: frogs creating a new generation.

Doing what comes naturally: frogs creating a new generation.

Archant © 2008

Mike Toms gets a close-up on a welcome sign that spring is round the corner (possibly).

Common frogs have arrived at the pond on Beeston Common en masse, collectively released from the cold weather that straddled the turning of the new month. The shallow margins of the pond are hidden by a mass of frogspawn, over which clamber late arrivals keen to join this orgy of activity. The density of frogs brings with it a chorus of sound that reveals their presence long before you set eyes upon the pond itself. The water levels, elevated by recent rain, are already falling and some of the spawn is now marooned above the water line, where it will surely perish.

The frogs are so engrossed that I can approach to the very edge of the pond, lowering myself almost to water level to secure the camera angle that I am after. I’ll leave the site a little wetter than I arrived but should have some good images. The presence of the camera lens seems to encourage some of the frogs closer and I wonder if they can see themselves reflected in the glass. Getting the shots that I want turns out to be harder than expected, the frogs are so numerous that they constantly photobomb one another.

It is only once I move back from the margins to take a wide-angle shot that it strikes me just how many individuals are here. I half expect to see a heron or grass snake put in an appearance; surely the presence of so many vulnerable amphibians must offer an unusually good feeding opportunity. Perhaps the arrival of the frogs has happened too quickly for it to be noticed more widely.

The high water levels have created smaller pools elsewhere on the common, each of which has its own writhing mass of spawning frogs busy. I suspect that many of these satellite pools will dry out and that only the frogs in the main pond will be likely to pass on their genes to this year’s cohort of tiny froglets. A lot can happen between now and then – and a late cold snap cold snap could spell disaster – so there is a long way to go before the fruits of this year’s labour will return to breed themselves.

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