The funniest thing happened when we got back from camping, I have to tell you.
Last year around this time we delighted when frogs started turning up in our garden. And do you remember we found frog spawn in our new pond last spring. Those eggs were moved to a bucket, on a friend's advice, away from the hungry goldfish.
Fast forward some months and sadly only a few had survived the juggling and the heat of the bucket. Any of these who were returned to the pond were eaten very quickly by our goldfish; Flashy, Fluoro, Pirate and Leopard so we weren't sure what to do with them when we went away. Then clever Mr F got one of those nets that you hang on the side of an aquarium. We balanced it on the edge of the pond and put the remaining tadpoles inside, about five of them, getting to be a good size now, and left for Christmas.
I checked on the taddies after our first fortnight away and they were doing well, there might have been a couple less but the edge of the net had dropped down in all the rain and I presumed they'd made the break for freedom (and probably got eaten in the process).
When we got back from camping I went out again to check their progress. I peered into the net and searched hopefully for life. Splash! A large dark grey shape sped across the net. I looked again and saw that a small blackish goldfish was the only resident in the net. I'd never seen this fish before in my life! Where had it come from? Our fish Flashy and Fluoro are beautiful bright orange Comets and Pirate and Leopard are white with black and orange spots. Who on earth was this interloper who'd broken in and eaten all our tadpoles?!
I got one of my large glass vases and put the new fish in it to see him better. I couldn't understand what I was seeing. Eventually it dawned on me that the only explanation could be that our fish had had babies, and indeed later I found another small black fish in the pond. So here's a pic of our babies Florence and Boo, our mystery guests, with their parents. I'm hoping they turn a brighter colour but I'm just quite happy to have them too. What a surprise!
And do you know, while I was feeding the fish the other day I saw a large black shape with a thick black tail rise up from the depths for a moment, a massive tadpole who has survived this whole saga. Here's hoping he goes on to have babies too.
p.s. I got a new zoom lens for my camera for Xmas and one of the reasons I wanted it was to photograph birds. Here are a few beginner shots of me spying on our bird bath.