Frog City on the Basingstoke Canal
Guest post by Simon Hughes
Walking a ten-mile stretch of the Basingstoke Canal on an unseasonably mild day, bird life on and around the water was abundant, including a kingfisher. A brimstone fluttered upwards and violets, primroses and celandine were making their first appearance. For a long while, there was a fisherman every fifteen yards or so but they seemed to only be catching tiddlers. In any case, the murkiness of the canal combined with the bright sky reflections made it difficult to see any life in the canal.
That was until I passed the last fisherman, when out of the corner of my eye, I thought I saw a few bubbles rising through the reedy vegetation at the side of the canal. Closer inspection revealed the bubbles were a couple of frogs bobbing up and down. Even closer inspection revealed that it wasn't a couple of frogs but many dozens in the vegetation. I had discovered Frog City. Perhaps the vegetation offered a prop for resting in the sun that was easy to escape from should a predator, or nosy human, hove too close.
Moving along the bank, I saw more and more frogs sunning themselves and occasionally popping up or down. Eventually, I came to a single huge conglomeration of frogspawn, clearly of different maturities since the "black dots" were of different size. There were more frogs amongst the spawn than anywhere else. And while I was watching, one jumped on top of another. I'm not sure it was a happy pairing since the jumped upon flailed its legs violently . But all that did was to encourage more frogs to leap on the pair. I felt obliged to leave them to their business. That day, apart from Frog City, I saw nothing else moving in the canal.