The BV, Feb 22

Page 62

WILDLIFE

by Jane Adams

Jane Adams - Naturalist. bTB Badger Vaccinator. Nature writer. Photographer. Bee Watcher.

Eighty glistening eyes stared at me! ‘I was shocked when I heard a loud gurgling sound as I took the bins out one night – but was delighted when I saw what it meant’, says Jane Adams I first heard the gurgling when I I hadn’t given frogs much was putting the recycling out. thought until then. Well, you It was a dark, wet night, and as I don’t, do you? dragged the bin to the curb, the And yet ‘common frogs’ are far sound grew louder. I wondered less common than their name if the sewer under the lawn suggests. Slug and snail killing was blocked again, and sighed. pesticides have cleared many Poking rods down the drain gardens “for a few days, hadn’t been a pleasant of the experience. common our previously Weirdly, when I returned frogs’ lifeless pond with a torch, the sound had biggest overflowed with food stopped. But waving a light around the garden, its beam sex crazed frogs” source. came to rest on something Imported unexpected; eighty glistening diseases have weakened and frog eyes. And as I stared killed them. And, in the UK, back, their gurgling and croaks we’ve lost 500,000 ponds in the restarted. last century. Is it any wonder common frog numbers have The possibly-wrong pond been falling for over 40 years? We’d dug a pond the previous autumn. Friends had helped. The start of something good Dreams of dragonflies flying That year, the first year I saw round the garden had spurred us them, February started icy cold, on. At 2x1 metres, the pond was then turned to drizzle; the cue small. But it had a shallow and a frogs need to emerge from the deep end, and a liner, and we’d undergrowth and spawn. For a thrown in a few native aquatic few days, our previously lifeless plants. We weren’t sure if what pond had overflowed with sex we were doing was right, but it crazed frogs, and their clumps of was worth a go. spawn filled the shallows. Local 62

frogs had needed a pond, and I hadn’t even realised. Fourteen years later, that same small pond is now the wildlife hub of our garden. Mammals and birds use it to drink and bathe. Dragonflies, damselflies, newts, and toads lay their eggs amongst its weeds. And, as I drag the recycling out to the curb, and February’s drizzle descends, I smile at the sound of gurgling.

How you can help your local frogs: •

Add a pond; they prefer one 2m across, but even a tiny ‘pond in a pot’ helps

Provide piles of rocks, logs and leaves; spaces to shelter from predators, shade in hot summers and for food foraging

Avoid using pesticides and slug pellets; an unwanted garden pest is welcome food for frogs and toads, and the chemicals may be harmful

click here for more tips


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