A Small Miracle of Nature

It’s September and summer is over. The days are nice enough often reaching highs of 22C (72F) but the nights are cool now averaging about 7C (45F). This means it’s too cold to swim and so the pool has been dismantled and stowed for next year. I let the chlorine levels drop to zero before draining the pool into our little wet meadow. As I expected, the ground is still so dry all of it was absorbed into the ground and a lot going to the poor thirsty trees. As expected the pool left us a neat looking crop circle my husband loves. One less thing to mow, I guess.

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Anyway while we were doing the dismantling we paused and glanced at the pond my husband created a few years ago and we were overjoyed to see a miracle. A wee little woodfrog has emerged!

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She’s just the cutest little thing. (The frog is too young to decide the gender but I like to think it’s a girl.) For scale those leaves she’s sitting on are about 2.5 cm (1 in) long. She’s only just popped out her hind feet. We did have a male frog in our little pond this year. He serenaded us for about three weeks off and on. We never saw a lady frog so we assumed his forlorn calling was unanswered. We were wrong. A quick check in our Reptiles and Amphibians of Manitoba book and yes, it is a baby wood frog. How nice to know the lonesome calling of that male frog was answered. Wood frogs eat insects and invertebrates and they like snails and slugs. Our pond certainly has enough snails in it. We assumed that was what he was eating when he was not calling for a lady. Each frog has a range of about 64 square metres (77 square feet). Our yard and little pond could easily support that male and maybe a lady frog or two.

We saw no frog eggs even though we looked. Our pond produces large numbers of dragonflies. If we find mosquito larvae in our rain barrels we pump them out into our pond and by the next day not one will be left. Dragonflies regularly visit and we have seen little dragonfly larvae shed their larval skins and climb out to fly off. Dragonflies and their larvae are such ferocious predators we assumed even if there were frog eggs none of the baby frogs could possible survive. The females will lay eggs in masses of up to 3000 eggs that they attach to plants. Maybe there were just so many little pollywogs that the dragon flies couldn’t eat them all. Maybe this one was lucky. Maybe she wasn’t just lucky but also smarter or faster than the rest.¬†Sometimes it’s so very nice to find out we were wrong in our assumptions.

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