Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Tiny Tadpoles

Taking a stroll last week on the sandy path between sand dunes and sea the brackish pools lying amongst the small section of salt marsh near Haverigg on the Cumbrian coast looked so tranquil.
But something caught my eye. A seething black mass at the edge.
It was thousands of tadpoles.
 The more adventurous were swimming all over the pool
and I concentrated on trying to get a photograph of their tails wiggling.  Suddenly there was a quiver and an explosion of sand
 as a little Goby fish broke cover and swam across the pool.  I wondered what these tadpoles would turn into. 
This distinctive double string gave a clue
Lets take a closer look.
Some of these eggs will eventually turn into Natterjack toads. It is a protected species in the British Isles and only present in a handful of coastal sites.  Their preference for shallow, warm pools has the disadvantage that these can dry out but they overcome the problem by an extended period of mating from April to July and eggs are produced throughout this season,  normally 3000 to 4000 at a time.  This nocturnal toad's distinctive calls will be heard in the dunes in the night.

I think a warm winter and early spring this year may mean a productive year for all our amphibians whether by the coast or
inland. As part of the National Garden Scheme when private gardens are opened to the public to raise money for charity the owners of Clearbeck opened up their 4+ acre garden for two days this weekend and we made the trip inland into north Lancashire yesterday. I ramped up my tadpole spotting for the year at the edge of their lake
I managed to throw these little fellows into a mild panic as my shadow fell across water and they scattered.  I will not see what happens to these tadpoles, which I suspect are the offspring of the Common Frog, but will be be keeping an eye on my local pools. When I revisited the brackish pools this week there was even more life there, damselflies clinging on the reeds while little water boatmen skimmed the surface in the sunshine and the tadpoles had been joined by new ones, their small size distinguishing them from those who had spent longer in the pool.
 As Arnie says "I'll Be Back" and hopefully see their life journey as they metamorphose into toads .

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet this week sojourning at T here



photowannabe said...

Fascinating. I thought that was a bunch of string in the puddle...not eggs.
Lots of frogs croaking later in the year I guess.

ellen b. said...

So interesting! Great photos!

Roger Owen Green said...

tiny, indeed!
ROG, ABC Wednesday

Rajesh said...

Wonderful shots. The design formed by them is interesting.

Cristina Pop said...

Interesting post, and great pics!

SamuraiFrog said...

Amazing photos! I used to go watch the tadpoles in the creek by my house when I was little. This brings back a lot of neat memories.

Gerald (SK14) said...

I remember we used to catch tadpoles in jam jars as a kid - it all seems like a universe ago now.

Carver said...

Great shots of the tadpoles and I love the big sky and reflection shots. Beautiful scenery!

Susan Moore said...

I enjoy hiking around these places vicariously through you! Very interesting post and great photos as well. Nature is always fascinating to observe.

magiceye said...

Beautiful captures and very informative too!