Friday, May 9, 2008

"OMG! There are thousands of them!!"

During the latter part of winter we decided we needed to schedule a 'pond clean up day', sort of a spring cleaning for the area around the pond. Basically it was needed to cut down and clean up some of the brush that had grown up around certain areas of the pond and prune or cut down a few trees on or around the banks and haul them off. As the pond has always been kept relatively clean it was not a real big job, but more hands made the work go faster and easier. We ended up scheduling the day for the last weekend in March. The weather forecast called for possible rain starting in the afternoon but luckily it was a bit late coming and we had a beautiful, warm day to work. Actually it became unseasonably warm, especially with all the cutting and hauling work.

In the early afternoon as we were finishing up ER was walking along the side of the pond and noticed some activity in the grass in the very edge of the water. There was continuous movement in the water rippling the top. It was almost as though the water was about to come to a boil. It took only a few minutes to realize we were watching the first spring crop of tadpoles beginning to emerge. As we walked along the edge of water we could see additional spots with activity. It was really amazing. Each spot had what seemed to be dozens or hundreds of tiny tadpoles wiggling and squirming in a small mass. And there were dozens of such spots. A quick calculation indicated there must be thousands of these tiny little funny creatures being born as we watched.

Now none of us are biologists so some of this is just a guess, but we surmised that the emergence at that time was likely triggered by the unusually warm and sunny day. It seemed that the area was concentrated along the western bank of the pond that runs north and south. This means it is the area that gets the direct morning and afternoon sun and is not shaded until late in the afternoon. We were just lucky enough to be there when the right combination time and temperature brought them out. (By the way, we were not sure about what type of frog these tadpoles would become. The were relatively small and started to show their developed legs within about 4-5 weeks. More on this later.)

Unfortunately we did not think to take pictures at the time of the mass arrival of those tadpoles. We took some pictures later of some new arrivals but they come no where near what we saw on that one amazing day. The tadpoles in this picture are about the same size. Just imagine that area being covered by so many squirming little tadpoles that you could only see about 50% of the sandy bottom. And then multiply that by perhaps dozens of similar spots along the shoreline and you will get an idea just how many there were on that first day.

When researching a bit on tadpoles I came across this great site with fantastic pictures of a frog spawn development from the morning they were laid through the tadpoles emergence to swimming. Check it out. Thanks to Nature Mama at Nature Notes From Above for that link.


  1. Hello :) I've finally had a chance to come and say hi! I've been enjoying reading your blog and those tadpoles in the picture above are HUGE!!! I wonder what sort of frog they will grow into? Looking forward to seeing another update :)
    Nature Mama

  2. Thanks for dropping by. We presume those large ones will be bullfrogs due to their size. They were released back into the pond, but we hope to see them again and get some new pics as they evolve into frogs.

    Hope to see you again!!


Thanks for stopping by to visit our little pond. We would love to see you again real soon.