Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Turtles and Frogs

We have a fairly large pond next to our house. This is a view from Google Maps Earth.

Kev had it built several years ago. Unfortunately, it does not have a lot of nice, cold spring fed activity going on... so during the summer months, it gradually gets more and more shallow. But that's ok, because it's pretty deep on one end. The shallow end does suffer the most. This cycle makes our pond what it is, with the plant growth and critters that live in it.

We stocked it with fish a few times through the years, but the winter before last killed pretty much all of our fish. This happened to ponds all around our area. As it was explained to me, there was too much snow on top of the iced-over pond, causing extreme cold temps... too cold for the fish. Last summer, I noticed a few fish whenever I'd mow around the pond. This year, though, none so far. And what that winter didn't kill, the herons have done their best to catch and eat. But the frogs and turtles are having a heyday!

When mowing the other day, I noticed the big patch of horsetails and how the center is all bent over and forms like a mat of horsetails.

 My first thought was that it looked like a deer bedding area, but the horsetails are basically floating on the water... so, no, not deer. Then I saw the turtles.

Painted turtles. I've seen a lot of turtles swimming on the surface of the pond. A few on the sides of the pond, but those turtles disappear into the pond immediately. They are all very much aware of my presence whenever I'm near. Obviously, the lawn mower is a big clue for them, but even walking quietly... basically trying to stalk them for a photo, they know I'm there, and they do not stick around. 

The turtles that are out swimming in the pond are constantly diving and resurfacing, trying to avoid me. There are so many that the whole, entire pond surface is slowly popping with turtle heads all the time.

It's pretty good entertainment when I'm mowing. Little buggers will not let me get a good photo, though. At one time, I counted to 23 and then lost count... too much diving and resurfacing activity. Suffice to say there are a lot of turtles in our pond. They eat a lot of plants, but the turtles also eat frogs. We have a lot of frogs now... I'm supposing it's because we now have no fish, so there's no fish feasting on them, and since no fish, the birds that prey on fish, and also frogs, are not visiting our pond much these days. Banner time for baby frogs.

I took this video while mowing; this was around the end of June. There were thousands of baby frogs.

There a still a lot of frogs, but not as many as the baby boom in the video would make one expect to find. Though, whenever there are any on the edge and I get close to them, those suckers jump in and disappear almost as fast as the turtles... so an accurate idea of the true population is pretty much impossible for me. And I suppose if I were a frog in that turtle-filled pond, I'd be extra jumpy, too.

Some of the larger, older frogs, were very cooperative in letting me get a photo... possibly because they've lived that long and gotten that big, they have less worry about turtles and other dangers.

I could have posted a lot more photos... so many frogs! Beautiful, beautiful frogs. Of the many, many things that I will miss about living here in this house on this property, the pond is in the top of the list. We are definitely building a new pond at our new house.

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