Two Dutch Girls on a Road Trip to Wiltshire

Road Trip 2017 (2) - Richmond to Chawton to Salisbury.

Good afternoon! Would you like to join me for the second part of my road trip in the South-West of England? A long time wish of my daughter...

Saturday, 11 April 2015

Viggo on Frogs.

As it is Caturday, I've asked Viggo to explain his fascination with our pond frogs.

Hi fans, Viggo here.
Frogs. Right. Are you sitting comfortably? Then I'll begin.

When I arrived in my house, as a young innocent but feisty lad of approximately 2 months, one of my first exciting experiences was falling into the pond. 
The fish fascinated me, and I thought I could walk on water. The fact that I could not  surprised me, to put it mildly, but that pond has been one of my most treasured spots to visit ever since. 
What attracts me to it, is that is it never dull. There are always fish to watch, and damsel flies, and butterflies, and frogs and toads. And I have this special stone that juts out over the water, so I can drink.

There are many frogs and toads in my garden, and it pleases me to scare them a bit, so that they try to make a run for the pond. They look so silly when they try to jump the box hedge and end up waving their legs about when they are stuck there. I sometimes drag them out ever so carefully, only for them to jump straight back into it. This has given me the conviction that especially the toads are not very intelligent. They can't even jump.
And did you know that they can scream your ears off? Not a pleasant sound at all. I much prefer the song of the mice. They'll sing for their females, very romantic.

Which brings me to the following. The frogs have left. Only yesterday evening it was, they were out there, all 54 of them, frolicking in the pond in the late sunshine and making a hell of a noise doing it.
And when I got up this morning (after spending the night in the laundry basket) and visited the pond....Gone. All of them. Disappeared.
It was such a sad, lonely sight it almost put me off my breakfast. I tested the spawn, just to make absolutely sure, but frogs surfacing to defend their territory.

Now I know from experience that those hoppers are not really gone as in gone forever. They have simply wandered off. And they will revisit the pond from time to time, to see if those tadpoles are doing well. My woman says that J.R.R. Tolkien has written moving words on the subject. Although I'm not quite sure that he was talking about frogs. Still, he could have been.

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Update on the Love Life of Our Pond Frogs.

Well, the deed has been done. Or should I say: deeds. For our 54 (!!!) brown pond frogs have produced masses and masses of spawn.

Okay, I admit it is a bit of a puzzle, or 'find the froggie', due to the fact I have used a mobile and not a camera.  But if you look closely, you can spot the white throats of a number of frogs, floating on top of the masses of frogspawn. 
They are so busy-busy with producing more spawn and defending it, that they have lost all shyness. My daughter stuck her hand in amongst them yesterday and they simply croaked on and didn't take a blind bit of notice.

And look at my goldfish...oooooooh....Jaws has nothing on them. They are hanging around, waiting their chance.

Still. They've left plenty of spawn uneaten last year.
It bugged me that I didn't know if both females and males sing, so I did some research. I learned that we have 11 different kinds of frog in the Netherlands, of which the common brown ones are our pond guests. And although the females are larger than the males, it is the males who produce that lovely sexy croak.
I also learned that the difference made between frogs and toads (whom we have in the pond as well) is void these days. Toads are simply a kind of frog.

I can watch them for hours! This morning, before leaving for work, I sang a quick duet with them, and this inspired me to write a Haiku:

Frogs defending spawn
in great gleaming brown wet balls
of irrational lust


Update 12th April: All the brown frogs have left to go walk-about!

Monday, 6 April 2015

Froggie's In Love! Pondlife.

Ever since we dug a pond in the side garden, we have had frogs sharing their lives with us. Now, you may think: so what? But let me tell you, frogs (and toads) are fun!

I sometimes wake up in the night, and I hear their sing-a-longs through my open window, and can't help but giggle.

When I was young and growing up in the country, there were no frogs. The farmers around us, and we ourselves, emptied our toilets and washing machines straight into the waterways, which were practically dead. 
Thankfully things changed, helped by laws, and slowly but surely the waterway wildlife improved from the 1980s onwards.

We knew there were frogs in the waterways of the municipal forest at the back of our house. But would they come to visit our pond?
Well today, four years after my husband dug it, we have counted 24 frogs having a wild party amongst our pond forget-me-nots. 
Our cat Viggo sits watching them with fascination for hours. He takes the occasional swipe at the nearest one, and all frogs dive for cover underneath the water plants. But it won't take them long to resurface again, and their concert starts anew.

There is one emerald green frog in the pond, and this one I haven't spotted yet. He is different from the other brownish-greenish ones. His head and body are longer and thinner, and his eyes are more yellow, and he is almost iridescently green. He has the habit of sunning himself on a waterlily leaf, almost as if he invites me to admire his beauty. He doesn't socialize with the other frogs.

One of the common frogs.

Have a good look. What is that green thing on the stone over there? Yes, it's our 
emerald beauty. 
He (or she, but I've got a feeling he's a he) is trying to get the Japanese stone frog 
interested in his song.