Sunday, 20 June 2010

A piece of tail and cheek

All you can see are pieces of tail.

The little critters are delightful. I walked slowly towards our frog pond. I am too big and create too big a shadow to fool them for long! Usually, I sit up top this rock and wait for them to assume I am gone. I happily click the shutter for dozens of shots. The pond muck is dark and the minnows quite black. There is no access to the lake from my pond. They have survived for eons here.

 The bullfrog tadpoles, who take two years to mature, are HUGE. With bodies the size of my thumb, they see me, give me a flip of the tail, and they are gone.  The pond is overflowing with recent rains. They seem quite happy to bathe in the sun.

Last July we had a preponderance of spring peeper tadpoles. See the adult frog with them looking like dots from 2009) Little-bitty ones, with few in sight this year. I know that the tadpoles eat anything that moves. So do the frogs!
 This one I noticed nibbling on frog eggs.
If you look closely, you can see  little legs quite well-formed.

Well, I'd better give you a better look than that!

Next, its arms will form and there will come a day when it metamorphosis occurs- the miracle of life, and it takes its head above water and becomes an air-breathing frog. Precious little creatures.

In the nearby swamp, the cranberry blossoms are beginning to set. If August isn't too dry, we may have cranberries. But it isn't likely here. The weather has been too dry for this piece of swamp, and the frog pond diminishes, failing to keep a steady supply of water for the little plants and the teeming wildlife.

With folks filling in swamps frogs will not survive, either. With pollution - their incredibly permeable skin is susceptible to many contaminants - they are the canary in the pond. Their skin is designed to regulate moisture and fluid transfer. This is why handling them is not a good idea, as you can put toxins from your hands onto their fragile skin.

In the meantime, where the bulrushes grow, the duck and ducklings make their merry way around the stalks. The wee ones leap for joy, or for bugs, trying to find a meal. Muskrat, ducks and geese chomp on the water hyacinth. They know to eat their greens, too!

Mama duck is hard-pressed to keep control of her 8 charges. There is always one in every crowd. The rebel with a cause.

The little dude who continues to feed in amongst the greenery, while mama and babies preen up on the warm, flat rock. You will notice that only 7 waddled up on the rock for a rest. As I approached, Mama leaped up, and the 7 formed  a line behind her. Immediately.
Except, of course, for Rebel. You'd think me weird, as I chuckle taking the photos. Rebel took off along the shore, eventually deigning to form the little lines maman so demands. I don't blame her. Not all of these ducklings will survive. The weak save the gene pool for the strong and healthy who are mercifully scooped up by predators.

Rebel isn't weak, but stubborn. I hope it survives.

I noticed yesterday that we seem to have lost one goose and goslings in the pack of 11goslings and 4 adults. Stay tuned for photos. News at 11:00! (Just kidding!)


Yogi♪♪♪ said...

You lead a mindful and observant life.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

What a beautiful pond! I love every picture. Tx for sharing.

EG CameraGirl said...

It must be hard to watch the negative changes in Muskoka as it the area becomes more "peopled."

You can never take too many pictures said...

Are we not truly blessed to be able to observe the quiet changes with wildlife and nature....with out the noisy blaring horns of cars and smoke from huge factories.....even with our populations increasing with the summer tourist...there is still so much beauty and peace to be found!!!! I Love living in this special part of Ontario and will never return to the southern regions again....I count my blessings everyday....I'm sure you do too!!!!! Love your headline picture of your Lovely Home....