Monday 3 March 2008

Something New at last

But it's not foxes. It's frogspawn, hurray!

It was on Tuesday, the 3rd of March, exactly four weeks after the last entry: pottering around the garden in the morning, I had a look in the little garden ponds (old Belfast sinks) and what do you think? In the terrace one, dark and very cold, a clump of frogspawn!

Am absurdly delighted, thrilled skinny in fact. This means that the foxes did not manage to catch and eat my carefully-tended frogs last Autumn.

Because you will recall, gentle reader, that one of my early posts described watching a fox juggle a small dangly object like a cat playing with a mouse. Exactly like, in fact. And I haven't seen a trace of any frog in the garden from that day to this.

That was Tuesday morning and I was very pleased. Just imagine my delight, that same afternoon, to see a fox in the next-door garden! Scratching under a tree in the lower lawn.

I couldn't tell if this was one I'd seen before: here's the best description I can manage (he didn't stay long)

Face: white in curve around nose area but not very high on cheeks.
Chest: plenty of grey and black blotching scattered over bib.
Legs: black to elbow only, on all 4 legs.
Sex: I think male, from a bare glimpse as he walked away: not sure
Tail: most distinctive, sadly: the outer half is bald from mange. It's a half-bootlace tail.
Name: Halftail?

Now I must get busier in the garden. That fox must be treated for mange with some homeopathic stuff I get from Derbyshire Fox Rescue, see link to their website below.

I've used this before and it seems to work. Ah, I've spent many hours researching foxes and mange! Must do a long post about it one of these days...
Secondly, if foxes are about again, I had better protect the frogspawn with a bit of netting or similar, because foxes eat spawn.
But if I do that, it may obstruct the pond from the at-least-two frogs that must be still around and using it for breeding...maybe wait a while.

Well, well! Lots to think about and plan. What a good, springlike, day!

MORE, two days later.

Thursday morning. I can hardly believe this myself. On my usual after-breakfast mooch, I checked the two little ponds of course: The main one full of cress as usual and now I look into the terrace one and what do I see? or hear rather: splashing! and fluttering!
Of course I approached to have a look and could clearly see a frog's foot, turning over, now a frog's head...what is going on?
I may have gone too close because the half-head I could see froze, and glared, then vanished from sight underwater. Foolishly perhaps, I pulled away a spray of ivy overhanging that corner - because really it had looked as if the frog was struggling to get out - anyway no more was seen.
Could this have been the famous frogs in amplexus? Really it was so kind of tangled up that I couldn't see for sure, but it was certainly moving in an unusual posture, and splashing. And I think there is some new spawn; it looked smaller, beside the previous clump.

Wow, not only have the frogs survived but I almost saw them mating!
And there may be a new fox!
I had been moping a little because of trying to give up cigarettes. But now I'm cheered up no end!

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