After the amazing croaking of the numerous frogs in our pond, which lasted about two weeks, we were left with huge amounts of black-eyed spawn and the pond became serenely quiet once more. Our anticipation of watching the expected masses of tadpoles developing was short lived for no sooner had the jellied clump of spawn transformed into a heaving mass of tiny black tadpoles when disaster struck and we were left with only a dozen or so. We believe their demise was caused by the early-morning visitation of a pair of mallard ducks. These were seen by my husband from the bathroom window early in the morning, visiting the pond on a couple of occasions. As the tadpoles disappearance co-incided with these visits I can only presume that the ducks found the tadpoles a tasty delicacy and gobbled up the lot as quickly as they hatched. Such is nature – it can be very cruel. Our disappointment was partially made up for by the arrival of a pair of newts. We had seen a pair the previous spring and were delighted to see their return. This year, however, more arrived and my granddaughter counted as many as twelve one sunny afternoon. We presume these too have arrived to lay their eggs which will be most difficult to observe as the female lays each egg on a piece of foliage and then carefully enfolds it. We are eagerly awaiting the hatching.
March saw the arrival of all the ground-nesting birds on the moor and their varied calling filled the air. As they sought their mates and claimed their territories we were rewarded with the haunting calls of the golden plover, the distinctive notes of the curlew and watched the frantic swooping and winging of the pewits (lapwings). Added to these were the familiar sounds of the grouse and smaller birds that nest on the moor – skylarks and meadow pipits.
I managed to make time each week for a ride up the moor on Danny Boy. It was so wonderful to see the birds at close hand as we rode quietly along the tracks. The birds seem unaware that there is a human around accepting the presence of the horse as natural.