Taking time to enjoy the frog chorus, welcome harbinger of spring
On a mild evening the sound beyond our kitchen window is more like the swamplands of the Deep South than anything you might expect in a pond by the patio.
It is not populated by bullfrogs – but their smaller, more elegantly shaped British brethren seem just as vocal.
The collective croaks of this amorous soiree of some 20 amphibians is quite a chorus.
In the way newcomers to country villages complain about crowing cockerels and church bells, you half expect suburban neighbours, more attuned to the drone of traffic than water-born decibels, to request turning the volume down.
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This annual pond party of frogs is always a welcome pleasure – a sign that spring is hopefully on the horizon, even if winter is reluctant to leave.
Observing this overture to a new cycle of life provides a simple delight.
It is an antidote to a gizmo-obsessed world which, by default, threatens to eclipse such wonders to be enjoyed on our doorstep if we only take the time to look.
Quite used to being stared at, the frogs don't seem averse to a spot of human company.
The colony began with the creation of a pond and donation of some tadpoles a decade ago. Since then generations of gelatinous spawn has turned from full stops into squiggling commas. Even adults, it seems, retain that childhood fascination with tadpoles.
Summertime sees the amazing metamorphosis of tadpoles to miniature frogs – some of which will survive to eventually return and spawn in the same pond.
Several areas in our largely enclosed garden are deliberately left wild. Stones and branches provide ground cover and a good source of insects for food.
Throughout the summer the keen observer can spot the occasional frog hunting for succulent insects among the foliage. And on a hot day a group of three or four may be seen lounging on a shaded side of the pond.
But long gone is that fascinating spring frenzy with males urgently chorusing out their baritone chat-up lines.
Those all-too-brief evenings are a much anticipated piece of natural entertainment. And, when the colony of frogs are in fine voice, it's almost music to the ears.