A little hopping joy

This quiet denizen of the damp, mossy wood, revealed itself by its furtive hops

We used to see so many frogs hopping around the place, when I was growing up. Indeed, drying stream beds and helpless, wriggling tadpoles were a feature of note. How many survived into adulthood and how many dessicated we children never knew, or cared, for that matter. There were always plenty of croakers about. As adults, these days we know better.

The Amphibian and Reptile Conservation trust reports that sightings of frogs in domestic gardens declined by 17% in the four years from 2014 to 2018. It’s reasonable to assume that the decline has continued for the next four years, if personal, anecdotal experience is any guide.

So it was a delight, during our little walk in the hazel woods beyond the New Galloway Golf Club, to spy a healthy-looking frog making a few hops to get out of our path. Without disturbing it, I got in close to its sanctuary, in the rotting root mass of an ancient uprooted tree, to catch its eyes; doubtless it anticipated that its camouflage would protect it from a possible predator, if it just stayed still. Indeed, it may take a moment for its presence to be clocked in the image above.

Our next walk, if we can manage it with our sticks and aching joints, is to explore further into the wood, looking for the little loch and another bench where, it’s said, a goodly congregation of amphibians live. But for now, just catching a glimpse of this little creature was sufficient to joy

Now then, some day I shall hope to catch a proper image of a red kite soaring in the sky above us, in all its wide-winged glory. They’re certainly plentiful around here these days, thanks to a concerted conservation effort. Earth-bound pleasures will be enough for now though, as we wish the little froggy well on its sojourn.

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