Country diary: for one week only, the reservoir is an orgy of frogs and toads

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Buxton, Derbyshire: The ponds are alive with the sound of amphibian breeding songs

The frogs have gathered in the ponds at Lightwood reservoir for the last three weeks. Vast heaps of spawn are now dissolving into a looser, less gelid stew. The black speck in each swollen spawn eye has also lengthened and acquired a gift for sudden, if blind, wriggling movement. The adults are far fewer and the only compensation for the end of their breeding season is the fresh arrival of toads in their thousands.

At Lightwood the two species’ breeding cycles overlap for a week, and to have them promiscuously jumbled together adds a further layer of joy to the whole miraculous process. It also offers opportunities for precise comparison, such as the fiery copper eyes of the toads, set against the narrowly lemon-rimmed irides of frogs.

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