Tag Archives: frog

Cold grey car park.

 

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Indeed I do walk this way most days (see post 26 December) but today it was head down into the wet mistiness. Until a song stopped me in my tracks: our all-year-round warbler, the blackcap, as grey as the day, apart from his black cap, happy to have survived the winter thus far.

And across the tracks, another calling in answer.

When I got home Mrs T announced that the frogs had begun to stir in the pond. Something is happening.

 

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… the very next day

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Well, Abel came round again the following day, and after lunch grabbed his grandmother’s hand and took her to the pond. This time there were two green frogs.

There must be something in the genes: thirty years before, his mother enjoyed a close encounter with this frog. She – Abel’s mother that is – was very fond of the red boots and colourful anorak but fascinated by the frog.

 

Early one morning …

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Six-thirty felt early to Will Turnstone. Not to Abel, whose sleepover had ended half an hour previously. He grabbed grandad by the finger and took him outside to look for frogs in the pond. But the water was a few degrees too cold for them. Instead the humans picked beans and a gherkin and went back indoors.

The gherkin was a present for Abel’s dad, who sang a thank you song – ‘Ogòrek, Ogòrek!’ It’s there on Youtube…

Mr Noah

it has, from time to time, been suggested that Mr Turnstone could pass for a patriarch from Genesis. Today it was the Noah side that came to the fore.

Despite Mrs T’s worries, our pond had plenty of spawn by last weekend, when Ms Turnstone II came to call. She was begging some for her class of 4-5 year-olds. Mr Noah was recruited to bring the spawn, with a few hatchling tadpoles, over to School. Great fun was had by the children as well as Mr Noah, and I think the children will enjoy observing the little creatures as they grow.

One lad was guessing what sort of animal I’d brought along – is it a tiger?

No, said Noah, he might eat you for breakfast, then you for break, and you over there for lunch, and so on. The conversation moved on … We discussed Ms Turnstone’s pet hen she had as a child, which had all 60 children – there were two classes – performing a chicken routine that had to be seen. And Ms T blushed!

Finally, Mr Noah put his foot in it at lunch time when he said he might bring the tiger in to get some lunch. One poor boy took it literally, when all the rest enjoyed the shiver of shock. Sorry Lad! I think we parted as friends.

And that was a good day.

Mrs Turnstone’s Spring has Come

Spring has asserted herself.

Mrs Turnstone had convinced herself that all the frogs in this postcode area had died of some dread disease; today it was clear that they had not. There had been an occasional croak from the garden pond, true, but this singer was regarded by her rather like Crusoe, all alone in the world.

This afternoon, after dragging me around the ponds on Abbott’s Hill, looking for spawn but altogether fruitlessly, she sat down to lunch in the garden, and planned the filling in of the pond as no frogs would ever use it again.

After lunch she changed into gardening gear, began cleaning weeds from the path, then noticed a mass of jelly under the logs on the far side, and counted six frogs ranged around the edge of the pool. Her private sun came out.

Mine? A brimstone butterfly flew past us in the woods on Abbot’s Hill. (They are green underfoot as the bluebells push through from below.) I’ve enjoyed this insect since the day when, as a schoolboy twenty feet up a beech tree, the leaf next to my finger took wing.

There was also a small tortoiseshell in the garden at home, its flickering shadow giving it away at midday, not twilight. And two hoverflies seeking nectar on the viburnum.

Here is a picture of a leaf-like brimstone.

http://www.bbc.co.uk/nature/life/Gonepteryx_rhamni

What’s brightening up your life?

Far behind: 5.

I saw several sparrows splashing in a puddle on Valentine’s Day. It may have been too damp for a dust bath, but not too cold for a puddle bath.

Before long we’ll be watching for frog spawn in the garden pond, putting a good amount out of the reach of frost and rearing some tadpoles away from the predatory blackbirds who know an easy meal when they see one.