Wednesday, 6 February 2008

Spotted woodpeckers, woodland birds and frog

As I walked our daughter to school I passed a great spotted woodpecker at the top of an old tree. This was about 300 metres away from the previous observations around Easthill Park, no photographs this time thought. As we reached the park, I could hear the drumming of another woodpecker (there are several in the area and the most I have seen in one place has been three). As I walked back home afterwards I noticed several great tits in the trees near the entrance to Easthill Park. As I passed two great tits flew up in confrontation fluttering together beaks and legs outstretched for about 15 seconds before breaking apart as they neared the ground. (I could not focus the camera in time so no pics). I carried on walking home and at the top of the tree (where the woodpecker had been earlier) a song thrush now sang from a high perch.

I arrived home just in time to rescue a frog from our cat. It was in the garden border and our cat had cornered it. It was the noise the frog made that caught my attention. As I got near to our cat, she picked the frog up in its mouth (by one of the frogs back legs) and dropped it on the grass. Frogs, luckily are not complete defenceless and can emit a surprisingly loud screech when attacked. The screeching sound does seem to put a lot of cats off and certainly made our cat warry. The frog also uses its front limbs and toes to protect its eyes from damage (see below). A slightly anthromoporphic observation, last year two cats had cornered a frog in the alley beside our house. They were taking it in turns patting it and the frog emitted a screech. It was almost as if they were using the frog as a musical instrument and the cats were playing a duet.

I managed to seperate frog from cat and put the former in the vegetation on the edge of the pond. I looked out the window about half an hour later and both frogs (todays and yesterdays first arrival) were locked together in the pond.

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