Nature Notes

Riding the Brompton (I have actually now fixed the punctures, I think – at least temporarily – but it took me until this afternoon…) I think I see more of what’s going on around me, or maybe it’s the continuing fine weather. Either way, I was heading out early the other day when I heard the unmistakable noise of a lapwing and noticed it doing its display flight over the road. Looking ahead, I could see something running about on the road, which I took to be wagtails until I got closer and saw two stripy brown balls of fluff on legs – baby lapwings, I have no doubt. One of them flopped down and played dead, fortunately on the verge rather than the tarmac, while the other one ran about a bit madly, with Mum beeping and whirring frantically overhead, sounding like an early eighties video game – I’m not sure exactly which one (Maybe Frogger?) I hope the balls of fluff learnt some road sense or found somewhere else to play – I certainly don’t want to have to report them to the Splatter Project…

tadpoles

Meanwhile, down at the ford (which is dry again – will wonders never cease), tension continues to build over the fate of the tadpoles. Yesterday, the water in the ditch on one side was rapidly dwindling, while on the other side it was completely dry. There was no sign of any shrivelled tadpole corpses (or the footprints in the mud of anything which might have hoovered them up) so I don’t know if they’re actually goners or if they can just survive in the mud until it rains which, ordinarily, wouldn’t be very long but looking at the forecast, I’d say ‘don’t hold your breath’.

I mean, unless you’re a tadpole, of course…

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4 Responses to Nature Notes

  1. Paul says:

    I think tadpoles are more resilient than you might imagine – let’s hope so anyway. One of our neighbours has a small lake which is a major toad breeding ground, and that really is an endangered species – we have special toad patrols in spring to help the young ones cross the road without being squished.

    If you like I’ll stop sowing grass seed on my “lawn” – that seems to be a certain guarantee of a drought, as we have so far found out twice to our cost. It has got to the point where a colleague has offered to provide me with a regular supply of grass seed for the entire summer if I promise to sow more each week.

  2. disgruntled says:

    no! keep planting the lawn … I’ll go and water the tadpoles.

    Back when we used to live in Maidenhead, we used to take part in one of those toad patrols although it was for the adult toads which (it being spring) had only one thing on their minds, and it wasn’t the green cross code

  3. Max says:

    Surely if a tadpole is old enough to hold its breath, it’s sufficiently grown up to be able to hop off to the ditch that does contain water? It’s the ones that are still too little to have any breath to hold we should be concerned about

  4. disgruntled says:

    They certainly didn’t have any legs yet, not sure if that means they didn’t also have lungs…

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