Earlier in the summer, I swear we heard a bull frog chirping in that water. Ben said to shine a flashlight into the water after dark if I wanted to see the guy but I never could find him. So this time I walked over to the drained area to see if I could see tadpoles. I saw one little guy who appeared to be beached, so I cautiously set a foot down in the bog to see if I could help him and Woosh! Down I went on my rear in the mud! At that vantage point it became real easy to see tadpoles. ;)
As the water continued to go down over the next few days, I was concerned for the tadpoles, and so I launched "Operation Tadpole Rescue." First I got on the internet and googled for how to raise tadpoles and decided it would be best to move them to a similar habitat but one that wouldn't run out of water until they could finish morphing into froggies. So I contacted the neighbors who live in a subdivision with several ponds and asked if I could put the polliwogs in their ponds. Mosquitoes and flies have been the worst in years, so a surplus of frogs is good, right? :)
I carried a five-gallon bucket of water, an empty coffee can, and a sieve to the ditch but then decided a one-gallon plastic ice-cream carton with a handle would work better. The internet said to put the tadpoles in the same water. I hated to take much of it because there was so little left for them - so I mixed it with some water from the bucket which had stood out and warmed up a bit. Actually I didn't want too much water - and I stacked in some leaves and stones in the ice-cream carton for the more developed tadpoles to climb (so they wouldn't accidentally drown). It was fun catching the tadpoles. I could see their little heads and eyes peeking up at me through the murky water and when I reached down, they were gone - but not far. Sweeping them into the sieve worked pretty well. Sometimes I'd get one or two and sometimes I'd get lucky and catch a dozen in one scoop, There were all kinds and colors, some with legs and many still in earlier stages. In the course of three days I have taken hundreds of them to the neighboring pond and creek - 4 ice cream cartons and counting (not full to the top, but full nonetheless). I think the pond is the better choice of habitat - it's more like the ditch I'm removing them from - shallow areas with plants to eat and hide in, warm water, and a lot more of it.
|A portion of our yard and flower bed after Ben drained the long-standing water|
|A view from the opposite end|
|Hee! How cute is this unsuspecting little guy? He's probably |
thinking, "Where did all my water go?"
|Oodles of polliwogs in the bit of remaining water by the drain|
|Enroute to their new home - a pond down the road|
|Polliwogs, meet your new home!|
|An overview of the polliwogs' new pond|
"But how can you tell those are frogs," he asked?
So we showed him a little green one that had almost completely morphed but still had its long tail.
City folks ... go figure.
Fortunately it rained a little last night plus I poured some water into the ditch from my bucket so I am taking a break today from Operation Tadpole Rescue. Phew! I only hope I'm not committing frog genocide. I just know that legs or no legs, the tadpoles were all living in a lot more water before Ben drained that ditch!
Ben says maybe the ones that are left can hunker down in the mud and survive. He may be right. I know I kept startling a full-grown frog burrowed in the mud while I was fishing for tadpoles. Nonetheless, I'll keep checking as long as there's any remaining water in the ditch. My friend Julie says, "No worries, they've survived since the age of the dinosaurs, they'll survive moving to a new pond."
I hope so!
And on an interesting note (at least to me), I googled the difference between polliwogs and tadpoles and found this bit of etymology on the similarity and origin of the two words at grammarphobia.com.
I'll close with the following blessing: if you are being plagued by flies and mosquitoes this wet, wet summer, may the Good Lord send you a nice little plague of froggies to help you take care of them! Preferably my little guys! ;)