There are signs of increasing frog activity in the pond - I've spotted a number of frogs wrestling in their familiar courtship and mating embraces. Worried that local grey herons might look for an easy meal, I've taken steps to protect them.
Plastic heron and netting over the pond
I've already reported seeing a grey heron (Ardea cinerea
) in the garden this year (see diary for February 6th
). I'm anxious not to see a repeat of the damage which I believe a grey heron inflicted on the frogs (Rana temporaria
) breeding in the pond a couple of years ago (see news for March 29th 2003
), so just as I did last year, I've temporarily netted part of the pond to give the frogs some protection from the heron (see news for March 29th 2004
). This time however, I've netted the deeper part of the pond where the frogs seem to be conducting most of their courtship at the moment. This leaves the shallow area, where the birds like to drink and bathe, accessible to other animals. I can always move the netting later on. For added protection, I've dusted off the plastic heron which is supposed to act as a deterrent for the real thing. Last year however, I found that the real heron either grew used to this (or was attracted to it!). This year I will move the plastic heron every few days to reduce the chances of the real bird becoming too familiar with it.