In some years the Wood Frogs spend as much as two weeks in the pond. This year they’ve been active for a night or two and then absent for a couple of nights before returning. I try to keep twigs and branches away from the shoreline so the frogs and salamanders are forced to deposit their eggs in deeper water, but winter ice storms broke some branches from the shore hugging dogwoods and these ended up getting covered with eggs. Fluctuating water level can easily leave these eggs hanging in the air. Part of my daily routine is to check the eggs to see if a rescue operation is in order.
This branch rises
and falls with the water level, so the eggs are safe from desiccation.
Those that I’ve found at the
edge of the pond have been relocated to the toad pool.
On the underside of the moss was a collection
of eggs that had to have come from a Streamside Salamander. I want to make it clear that the moss I am
referring to is the terrestrial type that established itself in the pond bottom
during the dry season. This is not
algae, which many people refer to as pond moss.
I imagine that the activity of the breeding
salamanders detached a large area of the moss mat from the pond bottom and that
is the reason so many patches of egg bearing moss are now floating free in the
The pond water temperature fluctuates and
tends to stay warmer than that in the stream.
I suspect that this accelerates development of the pond reared
Streamside Salamanders over that of their creek bound relatives.
Oxygen produced by the moss causes
the mats to float green side up. Most of
those I checked carried a load of eggs beneath.
I imagine that the bottoms of these mats are also egg laden. Now I know that the Streamside Salamanders
are definitely breeding in the pond. I’m
happy to have this confirmation, but presence of the Streamsides in the pond
also makes it less likely that I actually have the look-alike Smallmouth
Salamander living at Blue Jay Barrens.
Salmon and Salad Dinner
8 hours ago