Pond LifeSpecial guest nature diary, from the south of England, Spring, 1999
I enjoyed reading your website and thought it might be interesting to compare wildlife in different areas of Britain.
I live in the South. This year was different because both frogs and toads spawned at the same time. I have noticed that the tadpoles survive better when both are swimming together. I believe that toad taddies are protected by their, apparently, nasty taste. So maybe goldfish are reluctant to risk trying them after experiencing a toad tadpole!
Two years ago we had a resident grass snake which demolished the whole population of tadpoles. It slept in our compost heap (where it probably spent the Winter) and produced at least one baby which was seen slinking into the water later in the year. This year I haven't seen it basking in the sun, so maybe it has moved to our next door garden. Although it came as a shock the first time I saw it - it was great to find a sloughed skin. Sadly, we don't have any newts visible .
In the garden we also have foxes - who are becoming increasingly 'urbanised' even though not encouraged. They have a regular path across the bottom of the garden. This year squirrels stole a lot of newly planted container bulbs for the first time. We are trying to cultivate our hedgehog population in the interests of organic slug and snail control. We try to move any offending molluscs to the end of the garden in the hope it will entice the hedgehogs out of hibernation!
Hope this was of some interest.