Flanders Moss NNR
Despite the recent cold weather the wildlife at Flanders is starting to become more active. A stroll round the boardwalk might just reveal some frog action if you walk slowly and quietly. The best place to look is the pond dipping platform and a scan ahead might just reveal a pack of frogs peeping out of the water. And once you get up close if you don’t move they will ignore you and carry on with their business of mating. Listen carefully and you will hear the choir of males making their soft squawking sound – sounds a bit like my stomach close to lunchtime if you are not sure. Males are the only ones making a sound, they have a small vocal sack under the throat and this plus big muscular arms like Pop-Eye to better hold the female are what helps to tell the difference between the sexes.
Frog noise is actually quite interesting. Different species make different noises and this helps them avoid accidentally mating with the wrong type. But within the same species frogs from different areas have different dialects. Female frogs are pretty choosy and select the male they want to breed with partially by the sound they make. The males that make the loudest and longest croak in the chorus is the one that the female is most likely to mate with. So the frogs you might see in the bog pool are males all yelling their heads off waiting for a female to turn up and slip into the pool and make her choice. You might see one or two happy couples laying frog spawn but mostly it is the unlucky males trying their best.
So pick a nice day and take a tip toe down to the moss to watch, and listen to a bit of frog action.
Poem for the day – in Scots!
A puddock sat by the lochan’s brim,
An’ he thocht there was never a puddock like him.
He sat on his hurdies, he waggled his legs,
An’ cockit his heid as he glowered throu’ the seggs.
The bigsy wee cratur’ was feelin’ that prood,
He gapit his mou’ an’ he croakit oot lood:
“Gin ye’d a’ like tae see a richt puddock,” quo’ he,
“Ye’ll never, I’ll sweer, get a better nor me.
I’ve fem’lies an’ wives an’ a weel-plenished hame,
Wi’ drink for my thrapple an’ meat for my wame.
The lasses aye thocht me a fine strappin’ chiel,
An’ I ken I’m a rale bonny singer as weel.
I’m nae gaun tae blaw, but th’ truth I maun tell-
I believe I’m the verra MacPuddock himsel’.” …
A heron was hungry an’ needin’ tae sup,
Sae he nabbit th’ puddock and gollup’t him up;
Syne runkled his feathers: “A peer thing,” quo’ he,
“But – puddocks is nae fat they eesed tae be.”
John M. Caie
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