Some, though not all, from the second batch have gills. On closer inspection you can easily see the shapes of legs curled up under their abdomens. These tadpoles are still huddled together for warmth and protection.
Alongside an even younger batch are the great pond snails, lymnaea stagnalis, who mainly feed on rotting organic matter. They scrape pieces off plants with their rough tongues. Some have gills for breathing under the water. Others rise to the surface and float upside down to take in air.
Spring in the pond is a time of reproduction for the pond snails as well as for frogs, toads and newts. Pond snails' shells can be up to 60 mm in length. These two photographs show they vary in colour from yellow-brown to silver grey. Their eggs are found in long jelly capsules on the undersides of water plants.
The next two photographs show a pair of male smooth newts, triturus vulgaris. When it is not the breeding season it is hard to distinguish the males from the females.
In the breeding season however, each male has a wavy transparent crest running all the way down his back. Dark spots cover the rest of his body. Although he always has an orange undercarriage, it is brighter during the breeding season.
The females, on the otherhand, have a dark line running down their backs as well as a line on either side of their spine. Their stomachs are orange too, though not as bright in colour as the males.
The females also develop spots but not on their stomachs. Neither do they have the paddle-like tails for increased speed that the males have. The average life-span of newts is 6 years though some can live up to 20 years. From nose tip to tail tip the females are around 7-11 cms. The males are slightly larger than the females.
The females (well camouflaged in the above photo) are olive green in colour, whereas the males are dark in colour. Newts spend most of their life on land. Ours hide during day under the large stones surrounding the pond or in our compost heap, and come out to feed at night. They look rather like lizards though they are not scaly.
In the next set of nine photos - including the one above - you will need to play detective in order to find the male in various stages of hiding, as his camouflage is near perfect, waiting for his opportunity to come out and gobble up the tadpoles for his dinner.
As I watched him hiding under a leaf to camouflage himself, he gradually showed part of his tail, poked out his head, then another part of his body, and so on, until he was fully exposed.
Whereas on land the newts would feed on insects, worms and slugs using their projecting tongues, in the water they use their minute teeth to grab hold of the tadpoles.
To supplement their diet of frog tadpoles, they also eat other minute creatures such as the water snails, insect larva, plankton, and water lice.
The adult newts shed their skins about once a week. We sometimes see their skins lying around the garden. Compared to the much warmer South of Britain, it is colder in Scotland; so our newts did not venture out to breed until April, as the temperature has to be above zero degrees Celsius, and the conditions moist.
I took the three little videos (below) at different times of the day. As the newts appear very briefly in each video - and disappear with tremendous speed - I decided to post lots of photos of the newts so that you could have as close a view of them as possible.
When I took the video of the tadpoles last week, they were huddled together close to the surface of the pond, making them a captive audience - which meant that I was able to zoom in closely. It was a far different matter when filming the newts, for they were hiding deep down under the swell of the tadpoles, waiting their moment to come to the surface and pounce.
The last two photos show how the newts resemble crocodiles with long swishing tails compared to the minuscule size of the tadpoles. I had to spend most of the day waiting for the newts to appear as they made themselves scarce if the tread of my footsteps was too loud as I approached the pond or whenever part of my shadow crossed the pond.
While I was watching and filming the newts gorging themselves on the tadpoles, I marvelled at how Nature has its own perfect answer to the multitude of frog tadpoles produced each Spring in the Barleycorn ponds. For, without the newts to keep their numbers down, we would have plagues of frogs in biblical proportions.