Writing this at 11pm on the 30th of January. All is dark in the garden but I can hear a small chorus of frogs.
These are the first frog songs of 2017. They are heralding the Spring.
This is the earliest I’ve heard the frog voices. For a couple of months now, the pond has been dark and the fish slow.
The duckweed has sunk, the waterlily leaves long since rotted. Only the Canadian pond weed endures.
The fish are torpid. It’s too cold to feed them. They lie in the water as if they are hibernating. The pond has been frozen over several times and their unfocussed slashes of colour – gold, red, yellow – glimmered from beneath the sheet ice.
Valentine’s Day is usually the time when the frogs assemble and are at their most vociferous in the pond. The males arrive, swim, swagger and sing, their pale blue throats pulsating proudly with the effort. There’s a lot of excitement as they wait for the females to appear for the annual party to start.
Last year, they were about ten days late. This year, who knows? They may be on time if the weather remains wet and mild for a week or so.
If we get a cold snap, they will all dive down into the depths and postpone the cavortings until it gets warmer.
February 1st update: Well, the news just in is that the first arrivals aren’t wasting any time.
They seem to be enjoying themselves in glorious isolation just now at 11pm but it’s pretty early for party-goers so no doubt others will turn up later.
I just hope they don’t wake me up singing at 3am.