Every year tadpoles appear after water enters the Claypit, and then die each summer as it dries out. As the only permanent water is at least 500 metres away, I wondered where they came from.
Last week I wandered around the Claypit to see how the tadpoles were coping as it dried. I was amazed when I picked up a dead branch that was partly buried in the mud to see water engorged 2cm frogs hibernating in their own muddy cells. Note the film over some frog’s eyes. Feeling guilty at exposing them I covered them up with a palm log and mud to keep out ants. Please don’t disturb the muddy monument!
I was keen to return at night to look for swimming frogs so Aileen and I went for an evening picnic.
Wonderful ! Life is good watching the new moon rise with a fine woman, a steak sandwich and a glass of Chateau Cardboard.
We then drove down to Beavers Dam and pointed the car lights at the dam. Sure enough, there were frogs in the water. they are Humming Frogs Neobatrachis pelobatoides.
I happened to go past the claypit yesterday and saw the very last puddle filled with doomed tadpoles and froglets. Nature is indifferent to the individual, and they have now gone to the great pond in the sky. However as the claypit has rarely had water until March, a multitude of earlier taddies have made the grade. The frog chorus when the rains return should be deafening.
The smaller Quacking Froglet has colonised the claypit and is well established now.