Jon’s post on frogs in the countryside

Just in case you didn’t read this in the comments, I thought it would be of general interest.

So, over to Jon…

The problem is that there is no real data on common frogs in countryside ponds. Frogs are recorded as present in garden ponds – but a more useful measure would be peak spawn counts – giving a relative idea of the breeding population.

The NARRS survey [National Amphibian and Reptile Recording Scheme] revealed 50% of the 400 ponds surveyed had frogs. Urban garden pond surveys in Essex – for example in Rochford, Southend, Uttlesford and Brentwood – revealed upwards of 80% of ponds having frogs – but again this is just presence and there is no information on relative population status (spawn clump counts).

An interesting statistic was the low numbers of great crested newts in ponds – lower than 17%, and in some cases as low as 8% – interesting comments from the wildlife trust about this ‘common’ species actually being rare in garden ponds (which tend to be unsuitable for cresties).

I suspect that the opposite is true of the common frog: it is assumed to be common in the wider countryside on a local scale when it is in fact declining or being lost altogether.

There are some large populations of frogs in semi natural ponds in Essex – when I say large people probably would think about thousands of frogs

I recorded around 300 clumps of spawn in three water bodies – two reasonable sized ponds and in the wheel rutts of motorbikes in a flooded meadow – the majority of the spawn was in the shallow water of the wheel ruts with a much smaller number in the two deeper ponds – the reason possibly the presence of newts – avid predators of tadpoles!

This is from experience in the East of England. I am not sure whether there is any count data in the NBN dataset – so it would be good for the Big Pond Dip to record the peak numbers of frogs found in ponds during the late winter and spring so this can be compared to any count data from the NARRS survey.

I am looking forward to the frogs finding my new garden pond next spring as I believe that it is designed to be suitable for frogs to breed successfully – a temporary shallow warm pond.

I went out tonight to look at the pond and I have now got two water beetles in the pond!


One Response to “Jon’s post on frogs in the countryside”

  1. jonspond Says:

    Went on a bit there. I do hope that my new garden pond will help my local frog population. At my last residence I had a small pond where over 80 frogs spawned over two years. The pond was only 1m x 1m so I think that the frog population was impressive. In comparison deeper more typical garden ponds have far less numbers of frogs breeding within them – my parents garden ponds have very few frogs breeding successfully – I suspect that the ponds are too deep and have too many predators – mostly newts – all three species.

    Follow my pond blog

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