Apedale Country Park is our local patch and is only 5 minutes from where we live. It has to be one of my favourite reserves. It ticks all the boxes; badgers, foxes, rabbits, grass snakes, frogs, newts, woodland birds, buzzards, tawny owls and yet it is one of the most overlooked places in terms of wildlife.
I decided to take a visit there one evening after work. Spring is on its way and I was hoping to catch a glimpse of a grass snake. Walking around the pond I turned a corner to be greeted with a lot of splashing and then silence. I had a feeling it could be frogs. I knelt down and waited. After only a few seconds a frog did appear, followed by another then another until the pond was swarming with them. I also noticed huge clumps of frogspawn. With the mixture of frogs, spawn and pond water, I am sure if you looked up the definition of ‘slimy’ in a dictionary this would be it! There were frogs on top of frogs battling for a female creating a mating ball. I read in Richard Kerridge’s book ‘Cold Blood’ that this can sometimes drown the female.
The whole scene at times was quite comical. Legs stretching out to push other males out of the way, frogs hopping on top of other frogs and the noise can clearly be heard in the video footage below. As more and more frogs appeared I decided to sit down on the very uncomfortable gravel path. Any movement sent the frogs back into the pond, apart from the ones that were mating, nothing was going to stop them in their tracks!
Forget searching for life on other planets, just take a look at some of the spectacles nature has to offer.
I have a slight obsession when it comes to frogs so I must apologise in advance for the number of photos!