Each year, the frogs in the garden pond seem to breed earlier; another indicator of climate change. With the snow gone, and the last remnants of ice melted, they’re already active. Telltale swirls under the surface and faces looking up, announce the time for mating, and frogspawn has arrived early again. Although the pond is not that big, there must be ten or more writhing in the cold water, and by lunchtime there’s a mass of frogspawn on the surface. It’s only one clump, and it will take time until the surface is covered with spawn. If the ice returns, the activity will cease, and frogs will disappear, but this early spawn doesn’t seem to be affected.
Gardens have become an important refuge for lots of wildlife, and ponds play an important part. Just about any conservation organization gives advice about creating ponds for wildlife, and there are national surveys showing just what an important habitat they’ve become. An amazing variety of life is found in our little pond, providing a rich source of enjoyment throughout most of the year. We once had goldfish, lots of them, until a grey heron took care of that in a few early morning visits. Restocking, even with dark fish, provided the heron with more easy pickings, so the pond is now fish and heron free.
Apart from the frogs, the pond looks quite dead, but in no time at all, the first shoots of yellow flag and all those unwanted ‘weeds’ will peep through, and myriads of insects will appear. Now that the ice has gone, the birds can drink, the foxes that pass through the garden each night will pause again, and I might even allow the rogue cats to have an occasional sip.