Included are pictures, movies, and audio recordings all taken by us from our frog pond in our side yard. Our frog pond provides us hours of enjoyment each day. We get several groups of toad eggs deposited each year which we watch grow into baby toads. The adult Pacific Tree Frogs serenade us every night and continue to mate through out the entire summer.
I decided that our pond would be for the frogs that exist in the woods naturally up here in the Santa Cruz Mountains. No Koi fish, mosquito fish, or bull frogs are allowed since they all eat small tadpoles. The Pacific Tree Frogs (Hyla regilla) mate continiously though the spring and early summer. We also have the Western Toad (Bufo boreas) that may lay eggs up to three times a year. We occasionally get a leopard frog to visit but they have never mated in our pond.
More pond pictures
Along with our frog pond we also have a gazebo and a built-in barbeque. The pond was built by Tim Gillett from "Pondmagic". We bought the gazebo from VIxen Hill (as a kit - actually they call it a garden house since it is all screened in). The garden house was assembled by Greg and Rick. Greg and Rick also built the barbeque area. The rest of the landscaping surrounding the pond and gazebo has not been completed.
PondMagic Web page
Vixen Hill (gazebo) Web page
ATTENTION....In order to hear sound on the AVI movie clips you may have to install the following audio decompression CODEC from INTEL:
INTEL audio decompression CODEC
This picture shows several tadpoles with varying degrees of development. The tadpoles at the bottom of the picture have hind legs. The tadpole in the center of the picture is starting to look like a baby toad except he still has a large tail. Earlier we had hundreds of these tadpoles in the pond. During the day they like to go to the sunny side of the pond and warm up in the shallow water. It is hard to tell in this picture but these tadpoles are under the water.
Movie of a swarm of young tadpoles
A frog tadpole is sunning himself about a quarter of an inch below a water strider (Hemiptera Gerridae) at the edge of the pond. You can quickly distingish the frog tadpoles from the toads by their color. Frog tadpoles are brownish while the toad tadpoles are black.
This is a baby toad. His body is about 0.5 inches long. He no longer stays underwater but hops out of the pool adventuring either to the garden or to the woods. We now have to be very careful where we walk because the baby toads are constantly going to and from the pond. Charlie and Bella love to get into the filters and save any baby toads that can not get out.
Movie of a congregation of baby toads
Bud is a good sized leopard frog. His body is about 3.5 inches long. He doesn't really live in the pond but comes to visit a couple times a week. We think he likes to stay in Elena's garden hidden underneath the plants. Bud is a good frog. I consider him to be king of the pond. He does not scare easily but keeps his eye on the kids and us when we come to look at him. He usually hangs out on the sunny side of the pond in the shallows. Most of his body, except for his head, is under the water in this picture.
The pacific tree frogs are small guys but they make a lot of noise. The body of a full grown frog is only about an inch long. You can identify the Pacific Tree Frog by the dark line that goes through his eye and by their smooth skin. Their skin color changes according to the temperature of the water.
During the day they hide in the cracks in between the rocks on the side of
the pond. The adults start to come out as soon as the sun no longer directly
shines on the pond.
Notice this frog bellowing. When the sun starts to set the males go to the floating plants in the center of the pond. The Pacific Tree Frog has a very loud ribit. The females swim out to them and rub against them to get their attention. The male then gets on top of the female and they do their thing. Any night you desire you can go out to the pond and watch this activity. It is like a froggies single bar out there.
The Song of the Pacific Tree Frog
Movie of one of them croaking at night
Movie of two pacific tree frogs mating
Note that they have a different croak for when the males tell another male to keep his distance and for when they sound an "all clear" after being disturbed.
The Pacific Tree Frogs lay their eggs in sacks beneath the water as shown to the left.
There are three egg sacks in the picture but the one just a little lower from center is the most
visible. Since this is an unnatural year round pond, the Pacific Tree Frogs tend to mate
almost all year round instead of just in the spring. The Pacific Tree Frogs now
dominate our pond.
We first noticed a strange bird-like chirp coming from the pond. When I rescued a Western Toad from the filter I figured out what was making that noise.
The Stange Sound of a Western Toad
Louie is a wimp. His pathetic cry when I had to pick him to get him out of the filter is just heart breaking. Normally he likes to hang out under the stone bridge in between the rocks.
One day we noticed several "Louie's" in the pond. Then they exhibited the behavior to the left. Notice that the male on top is smaller than the female. The female is significantly bigger than Bud the frog.
The toads have large wart-like bumps on their skin and a cream-colored stripe
down their back. They can not hop as well as the frogs probably because of their
weight. Their bulk kind of reminds me of a Summo wrestler.
The next morning I found the strange site pictured here. At first I thought
the kids had put some tape into the pool. This is how the Western Toad lays its
eggs. They look like little block dots on a transparent tape. As the days go on,
the tape falls to the bottom of the pond and the dots become elongated. After a
few days those elongated dots wiggle free and become extremely tiny tadpoles. It
looks like we are going to have a lot of Western Toad tadpoles. The picture only
shows a small section of all the eggs in the pond.
This has nothing to do with the pond. However, we get swallows to nest just
outside our front door. They normally build mud nests but I bought and attached
man made concrete swallow nests. This keeps them from building their nests right
over where we sit and making too much of a mess. They learn to live with us
going in and out of the front door all day. It is sort of like having pet birds
but they catch their own food.
The mama swallow is feeding her babies. They normally have two sets
of babies each summer. Although you only see one baby in the photo there
are four of them in the nest. The swallows were very appreciative when I chase
away the cats from the front porch. The babies will be very vulnerable later
when they are learning how to fly.
This is a picture during the construction of the pond. Tim used a rather
large crane to maneuver the large stones. Shown in the picture is one of the
large stone bridges being placed in position. The pond uses a rubber-like liner
which is covered completly with rocks.
Here is Greg and Rick assembling the roof of the gazebo. Vixen Hill shipped
out all of the unassembled parts in paper boxes. It is a 15 foot diameter garden
house made of cedar with a two tiered copper roof. It has a water proof ceiling
Greg and Rick are in the process of cementing the stone bricks to the sides
of the barbeque. This is a lot of work but it should look great when they are
Last updated on 5/22/05
All pictures, sound clips, and movies were taken by either Elena or Bob at their home in the Santa Cruz Mountains.