Croaking into Spring

Though it seems to come earlier each year (and a bit cliche to say it!), the raucous of hormonal begun in earnest last week. It’s that time again when dozens of males make their move on the seemingly less-than-obliging females, often caught between up to two or three boys trying to spread their genes simultaneously and appearing comically bloated due to the overburden of eggs they carry. But it’s a tough job; males can stay latched on to their ‘brides’ for a good few days. Although my attempts to photograph frogs in the past have rarely succeeded given their skittish nature, a combination of a macro lens, stillness and great patience finally allowed me these few shots of this breeding pair

This highlight of the frog’s calender has I’m sure been the same for many naturalists too. As a young kid, the moment these secretive, weird and incredibly awesome creatures emerged from their slumber in dramatic armies that invaded my back garden pond never failed to amaze me, but the best bit was I knew it was just the beginning of months of afternoons in the garden following their lives. First the inpatient frustration waiting for the spawn to hatch; then, when that miracle occurred just under a month later, watching the tadpoles grow from wriggly black specks to the beginnings of that magical metamorphosis; which in turn, resulted in days seeking and picking up delicate froglets hopping over the lawn.

I bet you 99% naturalists with ponds in their gardens did this when young (and probably still do!), leading me to believe that if you want a kid to grow up loving nature in a society that needs it more than ever, digging a pond and encouraging them to discover the life-cycle of frogs for themselves is one of the most reliable ways of doing it.

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