If you’re a frog, water = sex

It didn’t take the frogs long to discover that that the first pool was full of water again and to come out of hiding for a bit of what you fancy.

And here’s the result. Those white spots floating on the surface are rafts of frog spawn:

thursday 002

The only frog species calling is the Marsh Frog. There are two Marsh Frogs that could be in this area—the Spotted Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes tasmaniensis) and the Striped Marsh Frog (Limnodynastes peroni). I’ve seen one, but couldn’t tell whether it had short stripes or long spots.

To identify frogs, the male’s call is usually a dead giveaway, but in this case I can’t tell. My frog book* says the Spotted has a single short sharp call—’click’ or ‘plock’—similar to the sound  made when two stones are struck together. The Striped has a similar call—a ‘tock’ or ‘poc’. I’ve also seen it described as the sound made when two sticks are struck together. Stones? Sticks? To me it sounds like ‘bok’, so until further notice, I just call it the Bok Frog.

I’m sitting up in bed writing this on the laptop and they are bokking away like crazy down the back.

I love the look of the first pool since I cleared out all the water plants that had spread and taken over:

thursday 004

I’ve started work on the second pool but the recent rain has part-filled it and I’ve only cleared around the dry edges. You can see the remains of the water plants on the right of the photo. They had completely taken over so that there was no water visible, even when full:

thursday 005

The pool system consists of three pools. They’re in a line, one after the other and each one is slightly lower than the previous one. The first one is only ankle-deep, the second knee-deep and the third about thigh/waist deep. They’re at the rear of the property and apart from rainfall, are fed from the tank overflow. Most of the recent rain went into the tank, but now it’s full, all the roof water will be going into the pools, so I expect them to fill rapidly when it next rains. Water fills the first, then overflows into the second which overflows into the third. Except in very wet years, there’s virtually no overflow from the third pool as the soil is sandy clay and doesn’t hold water permanently. Most years they dry out in summer—a combination of soaking-in and evaporation.

The length of the whole system is about 50 metres and each pool is about 3-4 metres wide. I’m going to try and keep the water plants from invading in the future. The trick is to only grow plants around the edges that that (a) don’t have spreading rhizomes and (b) won’t grow in water.

* Frogwatch Field Guide to Victorian Frogs (Hero, Littlejohn & Marantelli).

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7 Responses to “If you’re a frog, water = sex”

  1. narf77 Says:

    A lovely froggy tale and a wonderful use of water Bev. Clever permaculture in action and frugal water wise activities make frogs lucky fellows indeed! The win is that you get to enjoy the frogs and even the water plants (so long as they don’t invade en masse 😉 ).

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  2. Frogdancer Says:

    Love the end of your first sentence!

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  3. Pond novice :-) Says:

    Could you tell me your reason for not wanting plants covering the ponds? Why does the water need to be visible? Wouldn’t that hasten its evaporation?

    Thank you!

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      I found some old photos of the pools when they were first put in and decided I liked the look of just water with plants around the edges. The whole thing was covered in plants and you couldn’t see any water. The ducks and other water-birds that used to come had stopped coming. Eventually it would have become just a damp bog.

      Yes, evaporation will be quicker now, but that won’t be a real problem in winter because the water will be colder and will be replenished regularly (if it rains!!). In any case the plants were probably taking up as much water, or more, than would be lost by evaporation.

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  4. Liz Says:

    I love frogs, we don’t get them here but at my parents place they inhabit the dams and more interestingly the cracks in the ground around my dads greenhouse – I presume his watering is giving them enough water to survive and the cracks provide cool and protection. Its always fun searching for them. From time to time they turn up in the leaves of Chinese cabbage as well.

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    • foodnstuff Says:

      I’ve had that happen, too. Pick a huge bunch of greens, take it inside and throw it in a sinkful of water and a frog jumps out at you. Can be quite nerve-wracking!

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