Saturday, 23 February 2013 00:00

Spring has sprung – it’s official. The frogs say so

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Sometime between 10.30 pm and 11.30 pm tonight, as I was weeping my way through a replay of Sunday’s “Call the midwife” on BBC’s i-player, Spring started in London. I can tell you this authoritively because I heard it. Wiping the tears from my cheeks at the end of the programme I needed air. I stepped outside onto my terrace to be greeted by a sound I haven’t heard for very many months – a serenade of frogs.

They weren’t there earlier tonight at 10.30pm but they were singing at 11.30pm. It has lifted my soul. Spring is here - for definite. If the frogs are back in my pond then there is little doubt. They have made a couple of mistakes in the past – but not many in ten years

It has been a cold, cold winter. I have been chilled to the bone. The dog walks have almost become chores rather than pleasures as the soles of my feet have become numb through my wellies and my fingers have chilled picking up the string of Pickle’s ball countless times as he returns it religiously to my toes in the freezing mud for yet another throw.

Now it is all worth it. The seedlings in my heated greenhouse started to sprout last week but it all felt false – heaters, propagators, bubble-wrapped comfort etc.. But now that the frogs are singing, all is right with the world. We can sing again too and celebrate the dawn of a new season.

So, obviously, I tried to record their singing for you, since I suspect many of you think they just croak and don’t believe this serenade stuff. The scenes to try and capture the singing for you are ludicrous. It is always nearly midnight. I have a microphone attached to an extension wire into my camera and I strap the microphone to a domestic broom and put it by the pond, with the camera and me yards away. This video is what I recorded when the stream was working. However, I thought you wouldn’t hear it clearly or would be rushing to the loo because the water makes such a noise, so I pondered how to solve this. In what I thought was a masterstroke of genius, I remembered I have a master switch for all the garden power in the cellar. I decided to cancel the stream without having to crunch over the gravel path by the pond to the switch in the greenhouse (and so disturbing the frogs).

I have tried variations on this procedure for a few nights now to discover that the frogs only “sing” when the stream is running and the garden lights are on. If I turn off the lights or turn off the stream they go silent or all I get is the odd croak. They are all still there and I can see them swimming, plopping into the pond or just sitting – but they won’t “sing” unless the stream is springing – which seems apt, and is very interesting, but very dull from a video/audio point of view.

So, if you can manage to listen to this video without nipping to the loo and can block out the sound of the stream, you will hear frogs singing. And this means Spring has really sprung. Hooray!

Read 29200 times Last modified on Wednesday, 01 October 2014 09:23