favourite moments # 2 – the frog party

This the second in my posts about favourite moments of nature observation that have occurred over the past couple or so years. It’ll help to pass the time spent indoors this winter as I wait to be back out observing insects, spiders, frogs and others.

I shot this photo in late summer 2003. It’s of a small “party” of Leopard Frogs (Rana pipiens) basking together on the aquatic vegetation in the small artificial pond in our garden. Each afternoon, the little group would convene to socialize for an hour or so. Most days, they would hop into the water if I came too near with the camera, but on this day, they seemed oddly mesmerized and allowed me to approach within inches.

That summer, I had several goldfish in the pond — raised from small “feeder fish” purchased at a pet store. By summer’s end, they had grown to a remarkable size despite the fact that I never had to feed them as they were able to find plenty to eat among the aquatic plants. I used to find it quite amusing to watch the interaction between the goldfish and the frogs. The fish would sometimes approach the aquatic vegetation and nudge it around. One afternoon, I happened to catch 2 or 3 of the goldfish pushing a water lettuce back and forth across the tiny pond, occasionally making it slowly spin, while a frog sat atop the plant.

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9 Responses to “favourite moments # 2 – the frog party”

  1. robin andrea Says:

    That is a beautiful photo, bev. They look like frog petals on a wild and exotic flower. We stocked our little pond with feeder fish in 2004 and have not restocked it. The fish restock it themselves, and when they are big enough by late fall, the heron and raccoons come to eat them. The babies are too small for the predators to find, so in spring we see them, and they have reached the size of the original feeder fish we stocked. Do you still have your original stock of fish, or have they been eaten? We also have never fed our fish, and they seem to find plenty to eat.

  2. burning silo Says:

    robin – thanks! Funny thing, but the frogs have always struck me as looking like part of a flower too! Regarding the goldfish, we had the same ones for a few years and would bring them indoors and keep them in an aquarium in the house over winter. I never found any small ones in the pond, and I suspect our winters would just kill them off. I have heard of someone who had a goldfish pond with one end that went under a sort of garage, and their fish did survive the winters up here. Most people seem to either bring them indoors as we did, or just give them away at the end of the season. I finally lost all of my fish one autumn a couple of years back. I used to empty the pond out in fall and scoop the fish out with my net. This time, I got it emptied almost all the way down and no fish in sight.. but then I found one with some big bites out of the side of it, and also in the last of the water, was one of those large predaceous diving beetles. I believe that was the culprit! I didn’t buy any new fish this year as I figure the frogs are probably doing a good job keeping the insect population under control around the pond.

  3. Ontario Wanderer Says:

    Our Leopard frogs are not that tame. I have yet to get very close to any of them and certainly have not seen such a group in one spot. Neat photo and yes, they do remind me of a frog flower.

  4. LauraH Says:

    I wonder what they were doing sunning together?

    I hardly see any frogs by my pond except at night. I like knowing they’re out there, just wish they were so willing to pose.

  5. Wayne Says:

    Heh – that’s a charming photo, Bev. Our leopards tend to be a bit standoffish from each other – so do the bullfrogs, come to think of it.

  6. Cathy Says:

    I love the image of the gold-fish-driven carousel. Ah, the whimsy of a summer pond. Thanks for sharing the delight and for sharing a birthday :0) I’ve only ever met one other person who shared that day and that was WAY back in college.

  7. burning silo Says:

    All – I think these were probably all frogs that had been hanging out together for months (there’s not much other water closeby). They would always bask together atop the vegetation just out of the water. Most days, they would leap into the water if I came too close. However, later in the summer, as they got used to seeing me checking around the pond looking for insects, they seemed to get so that they weren’t too shy and would just sit and stare at me. I’m not sure if weather conditions may also have had something to do with it as well – I believe it was a very hot afternoon when I took that photo. I’ve noticed that at certain temperatures, turtles and frogs seem to be slow to react. Last summer, while canoeing along Kemptville Creek on a very hot afternoon, we found several frogs basking on lily pads and I was able to put the camera almost right up to them without any of them stirring.

  8. Jaime Says:

    Hah, I’m glad I checked out some of your other archives. Your stories are so interesting, but I absolutely adore this picture. I love amphibians :) Especially frogs. I’m tempted to take this picture as my desktop, or for something of the like. Would you mind?
    And ironically enough, once we had goldfish from someone who did the same thing that you did. They had 4 or 5 feeder fish, put them in a backyard pond and they grew…and grew…and grew…and along with growing they multiplied rapidly. By wintertime, they had more fish than they had ever bargained for, and they were all at least 6 inches long, and very fat. They had to get rid of 20-some-odd fish or they would die when the shallow water froze over. We took two, but they didn’t live very long. They were in a 20-gallon tank, but they were so big they hardly had room to move around each other.
    Anyway, thanks for sharing :)

  9. burning silo Says:

    Jaime – Thanks for your comments. Sure, you can use the frog photo for your desktop. I don’t mind that kind of thing.