Thursday, July 28, 2011

Pond Goes Dry

This is what the pond looked like on Tuesday morning. During the spring it seemed to rain every other day and the pond never lacked for water. In mid June the rain stopped and we’ve managed to miss most of the storms that have come through this area. The pond usually goes dry around the first of July, so this is not an unusual situation. In fact, it went dry on July 10 of this year and then a rain on July 11 created a one foot deep pool.

As the pond began to refill, Gray Treefrogs filled the shallow pool with eggs. Thousands of tadpoles resulted from that mating spree. They put on a lot of growth in just two weeks.

In situations like this, the raccoons fill their bellies with tadpoles. I get the impression that the raccoon’s dinner is spiced with mud.

A string of hundred degree days can make the pond dry up in a hurry. This is what it looked like on Wednesday evening. It’s always sad to see the water disappear, but that’s what’s necessary in order to keep the pond such a great place for springtime breeding frogs and salamanders. When the pond water goes, so do all of those aquatic predators that do such a good job of consuming tadpoles.

Tracks of raccoons, opossums and skunks show that many species were benefiting by the plight of the stranded tadpoles. I sometimes rescue some of the tadpoles before everything is completely dry, but that wasn’t possible this year because everything I have that holds water is already full of treefrog tadpoles. Treefrogs manage to get eggs into any available body of water and they know where all of my water supplies are located. If we get rain that puts water back into the pond, I can guarantee that the treefrogs will once again fill it with eggs.

Many species of butterflies like to feed on the decomposing tadpoles. Their numbers will increase each day until the mud dries completely.

Even the exposed mud benefits some species. Several wasps were busy carrying off balls of mud to use in the construction of their nests. Many insect species will utilize the exposed soil of the pond bottom during the dry time. I suppose there are some of those that depend on the dry pond conditions just as much as others depend on the periods of inundation.


  1. As I was reading this, I was starting to feel a little sad about your pond drying up and all those tadpoles dying. Then I realized it's how the ecosystem works, they get "recycled", it's the fascinating cycle of life. Great post!

  2. Hi Steve...always interesting to see the way nature takes care of it's own!!
    I was also feeling a little sad,but some have to "croak" : } for some to live!!!!

  3. Very interesting to see it all in images with your commentary. Great post again!

  4. Hi, Julie. I feel sad every time it happens.

    Hi, grammie g. I must warn you that there's a limit on the number of puns you're allowed to include in these comments. I'll let you know if it looks like you're going to exceed your limit.

    Thanks, Lois. I appreciate the comments you left while I was away. In case it wasn't immediately noticeable, I have now returned.