The earlier pictures were taken on my wee compact Canon ixus 970IS, which involved sneaking up on the butterflies. This can be very frustrating when they fly off, but very rewarding when they don't!

Since 2012 I have been using a Panasonic Lumix FZ150, which allows me to zoom in to the butterflies from a couple of metres away.



Saturday, 13 April 2013

Spring has sprung!

At long last the temperature has risen and there was a real feel of spring in the air today. We had a false start during the first week in March, but since then it has been cold, a little snowy and windy. On the 2nd March four frogs appeared in our pond, but they soon disappeared again as the temperature fell. I guess they took refuge at the bottom of the pond and avoided the morning ice on the surface.
Yesterday they appeared again and started calling their friends. They quietly croaked away, reminding us of exotic places! As my wife watched a lighter-coloured frog hopped across the flower bed from our neighbour's garden and joined in the party. That made eleven frogs in the pond!


By the afternoon there was a ball of frogspawn. 
Having read a number of blogs about beautiful tropical gardens I thought I would include some pictures of the plants that have sprung into flower over the last couple of days here.

These little primulas have been sheltering from the weather in some tubs of Alpines.

I bought these last month to brighten up the garden.

These little pansies are about the only plants that will flower over the winter.

These little dwarf daffodils are ideal for small gardens. They have been in flower for a while, surviving snow and frosts. 

I was amazed to see the crocuses open up today. They came into flower last month, just before the snow and they spent several days buried under several inches. I thought that the flowers would just rot away this year.

The buds on this saxifrage have been waiting to open for about three weeks now. It is amazing how quickly they respond to a bit of warmth.

It seems that most plants are about two weeks late flowering this year. There are still no signs of leaves on the trees, but I think that things will start to change very quickly now that it has warmed up. 

Our new Labrador puppy was enjoying lying in the garden with our old three-legged chocolate Labrador.

I think there is rain due tomorrow and next week, but I hope that it will soon be butterfly season again. I have only seen one butterfly here so far this year. A Small Tortoiseshell that was taking advantage of a sunny day on 2nd March.



18 comments:

  1. Nick, these are beautiful picture. Frogs are creatures I've always wanted to photograph. You did a great job.

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    1. Thanks Maria. I am sure there must be some very interesting frogs in the Caribbean?

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  2. Great series of spring photos Nick. I love frogs, and don't you just love their smiley faces:) It's so true that as soon as the sun shines and the temperature rises, there are signs of spring everywhere.I also saw some frogs in our pond yesterday for the first time this year.

    Your young Labrador is just adorable, they both look so contented,and it's nice that they can enjoy being outdoors in warmer weather for a change.

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    1. Thanks Sonjia. Midge, the Labrador pup, is living up to her name - a small biting creature!!

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  3. It's good to see you have some pond activity Nick. We don't have one but I have looked locally and not seen any frogspawn yet but everything has been very slow moving here so far. Lovely to see your colourful garden flowers too, they certainly brighten things up.

    Your dogs are gorgeous. We had a Cavalier King Charles spaniel who spent her last few years quite happily getting around on three legs.

    It seems an awfully long wait for butterflies this year and with a lot of rain forecast here for the week ahead it looks like I will have to be patient for a bit longer!

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    1. It is amazing how well dogs do on three legs. Jimmy was hit by a car last August and I wasn't very optimistic about how he would do without a leg. But he is doing very well and has become a local hero in the village!

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  4. Hello Nick, thanks for stopping by Nature Rambles today and leaving your comment. We do see quite a few frogs during the rainy season but I haven't seen eleven together at any point of time in my yard. What an adorable picture of the "congregation"...not the right word, I know.:) I also loved seeing the pictures of your dogs and those beautiful flowers. Primulas are available here only during our cooler months. I get envious seeing flowers from your climate!

    You're welcome to check out the butterflies on my blog. I also have some wildlife pictures at another old Terra farmer. The link is on my sidebar. I'll be checking out your posts now. Your list of butterflies is impressive!

    Cheers!

    Kanak

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  5. Nice post Nick!
    Spring is 'round your corner too!!!
    I enjoyed your comment on my blog, reading that you have been in Camargue as a kid thanks to your father's job!
    I will start posting about that place this evening!
    I enjoyed every minute of it!
    OK, back to your pics...
    It seems you have quite a lot of frogs in your garden, that is really nice!
    I mainly have toads and tree frogs!
    I hope the weather is brighter where ou are, today is lousy in the south of France!
    Cheerio!


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  6. Nick, I love your frog photograph!! Healthy population you have. They will eat your biting mosquitoes and the chorus must be lively. Sweet little puppy and I am sure a comfort to your old faithful. Truly does begin to feel like Spring. Fun to see your bright and cheery blooms.

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    1. Sadly it hasn't really warmed up here, but at least that means that the frogs won't be on mosquito duty for a while! They are great at eating the slugs in the garden, though.

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  7. Hi Nick,
    We just pulled into Chiapas, Mexico. We are going to sit out the hurricane season here. I had access to the internet and time to pop in for a visit; I'm so glad I did! This post is perfect. Beautiful with the colorful flowers, heart-warming because of both beautiful dogs and who can't smile when they see that great frog photo? Your posts are so informative and this is a wonderful place to learn something. Thanks so much for your contributions.
    Sue from Peregrine

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    1. Thanks Sue. Yes, I guess this is quite a contrast to Mexico! It is still pretty cold here!

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  8. Wow those frog photos are awesome! I will follow along and hopefully learn some butterfly photography tricks. thanks for commenting on my blog.

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    1. Thanks. Any time it gets too hot down under you can always pop over to my blog to cool down!

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  9. I simply love your photos of the frogs having a party in your pond. They seem to have a splashing good time though I spied a bully pressing down on a smaller one. tsk,tsk. Frogs are also one of my favourite subjects as they are photogenic.

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    1. Thanks Stiletto. There are thousands of tadpoles in the pond now, so I guess there will be many more little frogs in years to come.

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  10. Simply beautiful colours...lovely!

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    1. Thank you Kalyan. Small, but beautiful plants. Things are starting to grow a bit more here, but is still isn't as warm as it should be at this time of year.

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