Tuesday, 15 April 2008

The Miracle Of Rebirth At Barleycorn

After the snow of the past weekend, I decided to take a stroll around the ponds this morning to see how the spawn was developing. I could not fail to notice how the water was crystal clear.
The marsh marigolds were sporting their new green Spring coats, getting ready to burst into bloom.
A friendly male blackbird was so engrossed in his morning routine that he took little notice of me as I sat at the edge of the pond, watching him drinking and bathing, and serenading me with his joyous song.
A curious frog swam near to where I was sitting, eyeing me with suspicion, no doubt wondering what I was up to, and whether I was friend or foe...probably remembering that pesky heron from the previous day who had helped himself to a few of his brothers and sisters.
As I rounded one of the margins of the pond, the water was a heaving mass of frogspawn within which were hundreds of tadpoles swimming around, all at various stages in their development .
On closer inspection I could see, amongst some waterweed, a blob of recent spawn, where the individual eggs were clearly visible.
Further over there were older tadpoles, still within their jelly, but with chubby bodies and wiggly tails.
Next to them was a section of greenish-coloured spawn, within which were individual tadpoles in little cells shaped like space bubbles ; each tadpole wriggling about inside its capsule.
With the sun playing a game of hide and seek with the clouds, the ever-changing reflections gave the impression that some of the spawn was suspended in thick, impenetrable white jelly.

Right in the middle of the mass was a small clump of fresh spawn with tiny eggs in the centre, surrounded by older swimmers practising with their new rudders.
There was also a large area of slimy, green matter which would have been left behind from the earliest spawn from which most of the older tadpoles had now hatched.
The largest area, however, was a mass of seething, wriggling tadpoles, all closely huddled together for safety and warmth.
Zooming in with my camera, I could see within this mass the eldest of all the tadpoles, all squeezed together like sardines, and all breathing through their new gills. I couldn't resist taking a little video of them doing the Hokey Cokey, which you can view just after the little poem.
The Barleycorn Bog

We’re the newborn baby froglings
In the Barleycorn bog
With our beady eyes a-goggling
Through the underwater fog
We’re getting very strong
‘Cos our legs are growing long
A-swimming and a-gobbling
To the rhythm of the song
With our wiggly tails a-joggling
And our eager heads agog
We’re happy in the sunshine
‘Cos we’ll soon be handsome frogs.


Frank Gardner said...

This is so very cool. I'm going to get the kids so they can have a look.

Barbara said...

Wonderful pictures of your interesting pond so full of life!

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning, Frank, and a warm welcome to our little corner of paradise. Thank you for intoducing youself.

I know your children will love the tadpoles, as teaching was my vocation...and all the children I taught loved the world of nature :)

Great to have your company, dear Barbara. the ponds are certainly brimming with life now that Spring has come :)

Gowri said...

Wow, your garden seems to be bursting with life and energy. :-) Simply loved the frog videos. The video-making must have been fun. And yes, the bird songs are so sweet!

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning, dear Thalia. Lovely to see you again :)

It was great fun taking the little videos..accompanied by wonderful birdsong :)

Chris said...

Great pics :-) We have had a visit from a heron again which took most of our fish and spawn. Now the blackbirds are having a picnic on the few tadpoles we have left :-) Only the fittest and quickest will survive!

Frank Gardner said...

I have been over here before for visits, but it has been a while.
My daughter and her cousin loved seeing this and all of the videos, just as I suspected. Erin loved your cats too.
The whole family enjoyed it. Thanks.
We love your little corner of paradise and gardening style.
And thanks for the kind words on my blog.

A wildlife gardener said...

Lovely to have you visiting us once again, dear Chris :)

It is really annoying when herons deplete many of the creatures from a garden pond. In a river fish have a chance to swim off, whereas in a pond they are easy pickings.

One corner of our front pond is seething with tadpoles at the moment. however, in my next post, you will see how nature has her own way of controlling the numbers :)

Welcome back, Frank. I feel doubly honoured to have had you visit me twice in one day :)

Thank you for your very positive comments which I really appreciate. Sharing the story of the garden and its wildlife is certainly part of the fun of doing it :)

Cheryl said...

A joyous post. Lovely to see the tadpoles and the hope of what is to come.
Blackbirds are so beautiful, their song is almost like a church choir. How lucky we are to have these wonderful song birds.
I have song thrush nesting in the garden at the moment. The snail population has gone down a treat. Hedgehogs are around to, so they of course will help.
Isn't wildlife wonderful.

A wildlife gardener said...

I love to find a kindred spirit who shares a love of all creatures, great and small, as you and I do, dear Cheryl :)

I agree about the blackbird's song, though the song thrush is amazing too...and I love when they nest in our garden :)

Wildlife makes my heart sing, Cheryl, from the tiniest mayfly to the foxes and badgers :)

Anonymous said...

This is a great post and one that should be seen by more people. I liked each of the photographs and also enjoyed the video below. Thanks for reminding me that you had done this. I never seem able to make it around to everyone in spite of trying.

a friend said...

Wow! Amazing how many tadpoles there are. The poems add even more life to the pictures.

Anonymous said...

Great photos! How lovely to see the bird bathing so close to you.

Kari & Kijsa said...

These are amazing photos ...so perfect to jump into spring with new life!!

kari & kijsa

A wildlife gardener said...

I'm so glad you made it to this post, Abe :) It's good to know you are well again. Thanks for the compliments too :)

Lovely to have a friend like you, Friend :) I'm glad you enjoyed my silly little poem too :)

It is a lovely feeling when the birds do not fly off when I approach, Helen. Thank you for your positive comments :)

Spring brings its own magical rewards, Kari & Kijsa, especially after the seemingly long dark days of Winter :)

Jeanne said...

With much love and many blessings~
Thank you for your kind words and many blessings when you come to visit and always.
I love all that you share with us.
Love Jeanne ^j^

Bimbimbie said...

That Blackbird got dragged in by those tadpoles lol. They are coming along swimmingly aren't they. Love your little poem looking forward to seeing the little frogs emerge from their Barleycorn bog *!*

Sheila said...

You certainly are experiencing a froggie population explosion. I am interested to see how Nature controls their numbers.
The poem is cute, well done..!
The video was fun, and I love the birdsong in the background.

Anonymous said...

Will the froggies drive you insane at night once they have developed? Hhahaa, enjoyed your post :)

G3T Films said...

This post is almost exactly like spending another long morning exploring the waterways of my pre-school youth.

Only with less snakes and spiders... and a LOT more frogs.

Libbys Blog said...

It is so much fun when the frogspawn starts, we are like little children checking it daily, seeing if its grown, have they any tails! Miss a day and they all hatch! and as you said and showed gather and dance to keep warm!
Brilliant post!!!!

A wildlife gardener said...

Good morning, Everyone...great to have your company in our little corner of paradise :)

* Glad you are enjoying the fun, Jeanne. Great to see you, as always :)

* The blackbird was certainly making a big splash, Bimbimbie. It will be interesting to see how many of the tadpoles survive :)

* Cuppa tea, dear Sheila? Come and sit a while and stay for a chat at the pond's edge and watch the wriggling taddies. You are most welcome :)

* Unlike yours in Aussieland, ours don't croak at night, Anonymous. they gather at breeding time and serenade us with their chorus...and again in mid-summer on hot sticky days :)

* I'm glad the post takes you back to your happy childhood, Gt3 Films. There's nothing like a trip down Memory Lane every so often :)

* Lovely to see you, dear Libby. you are quite right...I am back in my second childhood rediscovering the memories of my youth :)

andrée said...

Spring is a new season to me. I have always lived through Springs but with a camera and a blog, life is different. I see things I never saw before. I knew life was renewed in spring but never knew the depth and extent of it. It is not an abstract idea, the renewal of life, it is squirming and changing and packed together for safety. This was a wonderful post.

(Are you sure the blackbird wasn't trying to drown itself? That photo is hilarious!)

A wildlife gardener said...

* Lovely to have your company this afternoon, Andree, as always :)

I agree with you totally that the closer we observe the seasons the more detail we are aware of...for we are using the eye of the artist who learns through observation :)

The blackbird photo is a scream! As he splashed around he whistled and sang his wonderful tune and he was full of that joie de vivre..and I felt as if it was especially for me. I was certainly beaming by the time he had finished :)

Sandy said...

Fifth pic from the bottom ~~~~
beautiful beautiful and I love your poem.

This was fun!


Anonymous said...

Wow, how cool! I love all of these pictures. Thank you for sharing them with us! I really enjoyed your poem, as well.

A wildlife gardener said...

* A warm welcome, dear Sandy, to our little corner of paradise :)

I'm glad you enjoyed the little poem...it was fun to compose :)

* Thank you for introducing yourself, Byrningbunny, to our little corner of paradise :)

Thank you for the compliments :)

Ruth Welter said...

Lovely photos WG, isn't this a beautiful time of the year?? All kinds of new life and growth emerging.

SandyCarlson said...

These are outstanding photos. Thanks for taking me into a world like the one I drive past every day. Your work is full of life!

A wildlife gardener said...

Good afternoon, and welcome to our little corner of paradise :)

* Spring is the best time of year, don't you think, dear Ruth? So full of life and new growth :)

* Thank you so much, dear Sandy, for the lovely compliments :)

Britt-Arnhild said...

How great to be able to follow your wild life environment.

Mark said...

Great pictures, love the one were they have their gills. I bet you must be nearly over run with frogs if this lot all reach adulthood.

A wildlife gardener said...

* A warm welcome, Britt-Arnhild, to our little corner of paradise. We do love watching all the wildlife bringing the garden to life :)

* Welcome back, Mark :) I like being up close and personal to the wildlife in the garden. you are quite correct, we would be overrun with frogs if they were all to survive :)

shirl said...

Hi again Wildlife Gardener :-D

What a lovely glimpse of your pond with the blackbird bathing too. It is a very long time since I've seen so may tadpoles in a pond. Thank-you so much for sharing your ponds with us :-D

I think your 2nd last photo looks like a piece of art :-D

A wildlife gardener said...

* Great to have your company, Shirl, at our little corner of paradise :)

The blackbird photo is hilarious...looks as if he's practising to be an Olympic swimmer!

The ponds look as if it's a case of 'The invasion of the Tadpoles' at the moment.

The close-up-and-personal photo of the taddies is like something I've seen in an episode from Doctor Who.

Thanks for the lovely compliments, Shirl. Always a pleasure sharing the garden and its delights with everyone :)

smilnsigh said...

Wonderful photos!

I so wish we'd get frog spawn in our tiny pond. But it's not a natural bog and it seems to only attract frogs, who are already frogs. ,-)

Seems one is out there now, calling for a mate. But I'm sure you have to have a multitude of frogs, to have such views as yours.


smilnsigh said...

And that photo of the bathing bird, is so fantastic. Look at how you captured the 'flying water.' :-)


Crafty Green Poet said...

amazing photos, the blackbird bathing is wonderful but the frogs series is even more so!

A wildlife gardener said...

*How lovely to have your company, Smilnsigh, in our little corner of paradise :)

Since the local farmer drained the pond in his field at the back of our house, all the local frogs, toads and newts have made our ponds their new habitat.

I was so engrossed listening to the blackbird's wonderful song that I didn't so much notice his bathing habits...but thank you for the compliment :)

* A warm welcome to you, Crafty Green Poet. Great to see you again :)

I'm so glad you enjoyed the post with the blackbird splashing around, and the antics of the frogs and tadpoles :)

joey said...

Another delightful post. I needed a visit to Barleycorn, afraid if I stay away too long I might miss something wonderful like your lovely photos, vivid tour, and heartwarming poem. Though many miles away, I feel as though you hold our hands on an individual guided tour of your lovely piece of earth.

A wildlife gardener said...

* Good morning to you, dear Joey, on this beautiful April day, when the blackbird is singing his heart out in the Barleycorn garden :)

You say the loveliest things to me about the garden, Joey...and you make my heart sing :)

Yolanda Elizabet said...

It's fun to see your pond teeming with life. I used to have a pond too and seeing all your lovely pics make me long for a pond in this garden too. Hopefully later this year I will have one.

A wildlife gardener said...

* I'm so glad you are going to have a pond in your garden at Bliss, Yolanda. I know you will enjoy watching the wildlife bringing it to life :)

the donG said...

i'm really not poetic (because i can't write one) but reading your poem matched with those photos is really nice! i honor people who can make good poems.

on the lighter side, i think you can feature the complete frog cycle.