Tuesday, May 22, 2012

Mass Murder in Lents

Ironically, on the same day three people came through my neighborhood talking with residents about the Johnson Creek Watershed and all the good things going on to help improve watershed health and the living environment for wildlife - I accidentally murdered a lot of tadpoles...

Let me explain.

For several years, I have had "water gardens" (a small plastic dish and a plastic wine barrel liner, with no barrel both encircled with chicken wire to keep the raccoons/cats out sitting in a flower bed).  I have wanted to upgrade to larger tubs or a pond this year.

Living close to the Beggars-Tick Wildlife Refuge, my garden has attracted the attention of some small (yet really loud) frogs.  They have been visiting for several years now and their babies have always done a good job eating up the algae from the ponds in Spring before the water lilies get going.  

The area where I really want to have a real pond has the gas line and the water line for the house running through it, so I cannot dig a pond there.  My solution was to buy two 100 gallon horse troughs at the farm store.  They are a bit on the ugly side, but I see their utility, more so than the ugly. I can tart them up a bit with a few well placed pots of flowers.

So getting back to the mass death part...

I was so eager to remove the old lily ponds, and get them into their new deeper homes that I did not consider the effects of water temperature and/or chlorine.

I spent several hours netting out tadpoles with my kitchen spider (you know that wire thingy the Chinese use to deep fat fry), so that I could save each individual tadpole and place it protectively in their new homes.

Later on, I noticed they were floating at the top of the water and I thought something was really wrong...

A little poking here and there and I discovered that the move must have been too much for them :(

The site of the 2012 Massacre
The good part of the story is that I also discovered clusters of unhatched tadpoles clinging to the waterlilies themselves, and they were all still wiggling! 

A loud parent.
I hope that the frogs will continue to venture into my yard and I have learned a valuable lesson.

Nymphaea 'Solfatare'

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