Posts tagged with pond

Amphibian Eggs in Allegany County, NY State

Posted on May 17, 2016 by Leave a comment

Disclaimers and Conclusions: Before you start to read this blog, we have a couple of disclaimers and conclusions to share. First we believe most of the amphibian eggs we have observed are Spotted Salamander eggs, unless otherwise noted. We researched every type of frog egg photo, for the frogs we have mentioned, and have concluded that they may not be properly labeled and therefore our descriptions may be in error. Since amphibian eggs are inherently similar, this is somewhat understandable. One would need to see the species lay the eggs to be certain that their conclusion is accurate, which is difficult to achieve. We decided to leave the descriptions of what we have observed and hope we will have a future opportunity to edit this blog and make updates with more accurate and interesting information.

Multiple egg masses laid by how many types of amphibians?

Multiple egg masses laid by how many types of amphibians?

When we visited our two ponds in late April, we observed clusters of amphibian eggs, in the water. One pond is about an acre in size, has a stream running through it and is stocked with fish. The other pond is very small, spring fed, only about 30 feet in diameter and has no fish. This pond is very similar to a vernal pond, but it never goes dry. One of our first questions was what amphibians laid these eggs. We see and hear various toads, frogs, salamanders and newts from time to time, but how do you tell which eggs belong to which species? Our first action was to look up the names of the amphibians known to be in this geography of western NY state.

Toad:
American Toad – Anaxyrus americanus – Lay eggs from April through May, in two strands of black eggs. The black pollywogs hatch in 2-14 days. The eggs we have photographed are most likely not American toad eggs. We have lots of these toads on the property.

Salamanders:
Eastern Red Spotted Newt – Notophthalmus viridescent – breed in the water in which they live, they lay a few eggs each day in different places. So, these are not the egg masses we are observing. The newts and red effs are common on the property.

Spotted Salamander – Ambystoma maculatum – These salamanders migrate from land to breeding ponds in late winter and early spring. These egg clusters are similar to what we have photographed. Spotted salamanders are common on the property.

Amphibian eggs in dead marsh grass

Amphibian eggs in dead marsh grass

Amphibians developing within the eggs

Amphibians developing within the eggs

Frogs:
Bull Frog – Lithobates catesbeiana – Bull Frogs which live in and around ponds, breed in late May – July. They lay and abundance of eggs which form a thin floating sheet on the water surface near the edge of the pond. So, the eggs we are seeing are not Bull Frog eggs. Bull frogs are common on the property.

Green Frog – Lithobates clamitans – Green Frogs also live in and around ponds. The frogs lay their eggs in mid April though June. The eggs are in clear masses with black eggs and are not similar to the eggs we photographed this April.

Northern Leopard Frog – Lithobates pippins – Northern Leopard Frogs live near water but are seen in fields and on land in the summer. They overwinter near a non-freezing water source. They breed from March – June. The egg masses are clear with black eggs which we did not observe in our photographs in April. We are not sure if we have Leopard frogs or Pickerel Frogs, or both, but we do have this type of frog, which we observe most often in fields in the summer.

Pickerel Frog – Lithobates palustris – These frogs lay their eggs in early May. The egg masses are clear with black eggs which we did not observe in our photographs in April. We are not sure if we have Leopard frogs or Pickerel Frogs, or both, but we do have this type of frog, which we observe most often in fields in the summer.

Wood Frog – Lithobates sylvaticus – These frogs lay their eggs in March and April in smaller clusters. These frogs hatch very quickly and look very similar to toad tadpoles. In our photo of the black tadpoles are most likely wood frogs. Though seldom seen, we do have Wood Frogs on the property.

Wood Frog Pollywogs

Wood Frog Pollywogs

Gray Tree frog – Hyla versicolor – These frogs lay eggs between April and August. The eggs are laid in floating masses of about 40 eggs, although the female will lay up to 2000 eggs. We do not see this type of egg in our photos. We do not know if we have this type of frog?

Northern spring peepers – Pseudacris crucifer – Lay their eggs March to June. They prefer to lay clusters of up to 1000 eggs which they hide on the pond bottom under debris. However if the water pool is shallow they may be laid closer to the surface where they are in clear masses with lots of black eggs. We do not believe our photos show Spring Peeper eggs. We hear these frogs but they are seldom seen.

Western chorus frog – Pseudacris triseriata – Lays up to 1500 eggs in masses of 20 to 300 eggs from March through May. We could not find a photo of Western Chorus Frog eggs to compare with the other frogs. We are guessing the egg masses are clear with black eggs, similar to the other frogs, and assume we have not photographed this type of egg cluster. We do not know if we have this type of frog?

The life cycle of amphibians is one of the wonders of life. Amphibians can be observed almost year around except for the dead of winter. It is amazing how some species brave the cold, variable weather of March and April to seek out a small body of water to reproduce.

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Stocking Bluegills and Perch in the Pond

Posted on August 13, 2015 by Leave a comment

We decided to add some bluegills and perch to our farm pond. We were also going to add some pumpkinseed, but those fish were unavailable. We are fortunate that we live within a half hour drive of Smith Creek Fish Farm. We usually call during January or February to order fish for the pond. We call ahead to arrange a pick-up time which is usually about May 1st. The fish are prepared for transport in a heavy plastic bag with oxygen added to the bag and sealed like a big balloon.

Adding Bluegills and Perch to the Pond

Adding Bluegills and Perch to the Pond

When we arrive back at the farm we quickly prepare to add the fish to the pond. It is important to try to match the temperature of the water in the bag and the water temperature in the pond. It is also important that the fish are not deprived of oxygen at any point in the transfer of the fish from the fish farm to their new home. We let the bag set in the pond water for about 15 minutes for the temperature to equalize, before we release the fish.

Preparing to Release the Fish

Preparing to Release the Fish

It is our intention to allow the bluegills, perch, and hopefully pumpkinseed, to grow for a couple of years before we add largemouth bass. That way we will have a breeding population of of non-bass fish before we add the bass. We expect at that time, that the adult non-bass fish will be too large for the bass to eat. The bass will be able to feed on the small fish that are a result of the non-bass reproduction.

Equalizing the Water Temperature

Equalizing the Water Temperature

As the fish are released they seem to pause and adjust for a minute before swimming away. This should be a good pond to live in with lots of bugs and water insects to eat. There is a small stream which feeds in and out of the pond bringing in a constant supply of oxygen. There are also trees along the pond edges for shade. The pond has plenty of water weeds for the fingerlings to hide.

Fingerling Fish in Their New Home

Fingerling Fish in Their New Home

Stocking Update Oct. 2015: After two summers of growth, we caught one of our perch fingerlings that we had stocked. This fish was about ten inches long and looked very healthy. We assume they will spawn in the spring of 2017.

Yellow Perch two years old!

Yellow Perch two years old!

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Small Wildlife Pond

Posted on July 28, 2015 by Leave a comment

Over 50 years ago, just before my father bought this property, the previous owner created this small pond in what was a field at that time. This is a spring fed pond about 60 feed long, 30 feet wide, and about 3 feet deep. Most likely it was made for horses or cattle and possibly for wildlife as he was an avid deer hunter. Over the years it started to become filled in and no longer much of a pond. About three years ago we had it re-dug for about $300.00. It has been fun to see it being used by wildlife. The pond is also near our apiary and it makes a close source of water for the honeybees. The muddy water in the photograph is where deer have recently come to drink.

Small Wildlife Pond South View

Small Wildlife Pond South View

The pond is at the edge of a field where our deer food plots are located, which also makes this spot attractive to the deer. Deer require a water source and this is specially helpful to them in dry periods of the year. It is the only site for quite a distance that has a permanent pool of water that can be used by our local amphibians to lay their eggs in the spring. We have a variety of toads, frogs, and newts which utilize this location.

Small Wildlife Pond North View

Small Wildlife Pond North View

The pond does require some maintenance. Since we have re-dug the pond, we have made an effort to control the vegetation that wants to grow up around the pond. We do this with a combination of herbicide use, a bushhog (rotary cutter), and a string trimmer. We are certain that a lot of additional wildlife species use the pond, they are just more difficult to observe during a casual walk by.

Frog Tadpoles Just Hanging Out!

Frog Tadpoles Just Hanging Out!

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