After a tip-off from the Landguard Bird Observatory, we went in search of frogs. I failed to see an amphibian at all last year, but this sighting more than made up for that fact.
This marshy area was apparently part of Horse Shoe Creek up until 1867 when it was brought into use by HM War Department for rifle practice. The pond was dug in 1993 and is now a haven for wildlife.
We counted 73 Common Frogs, and there were probably more in among the spawn and the weed. Leeches, Hemiclepsis marginata, were noted in the pond back in 2011.
Frogs tend to emerge from hibernation in late February. The females spawn almost immediately.
There are frequently 300-400 eggs in a clump!
Spawn was noted here from 29 March in 2013, so our milder winter has brought things forward.
The pond is part of a Nature Reserve, designated as a Site of Special Scientific Interest due to the rarity of vegetated shingle habitat nearby.
I was fascinated by the lighter colour of the frog on the left. The sunlight was low and it was hard to get a crisp photo. Females tend to be a lighter colour than than the males, though frogs have a certain ability to change the tone of their skin to match the light or shade of their environment. Common Frogs come in a surprising range of shades, stripes and speckles.
Common frogs can live up to eight years.
Females tend to be larger than their mates.
Female frogs begin producing spawn once they reach their third year.
The photo above shows the wide windswept beach at Felixstowe's Landguard Point.