Links November 2014

November 1, 2014

Feline news:

Environmental news:

Imperial news:
https://www.opendemocracy.net/ourkingdom/angela-donkin/going-hungry-and-importance-of-absolute-poverty (UK is clearly part of the empire)

Imperial conquest news:
http://www.voltairenet.org/article185727.html Thierry Maeyssan’s analyses are often venturesome and unbalanced but his key assertions nevertheless should be taken seriously into consideration.
http://www.spiegel.de/international/world/kurdish-fight-against-islamic-state-could-fundamentally-change-region-a-999538.html The Spiegel is one of the meanest attack dogs of the Western media propaganda machine but Germans had always a romantic sympathy and admiration for the Kurds and a deep-rooted, nearly instinctive aversion against Turkey and radical Islam in general. So in this case they jump over their shadow.

Everything else news:

News from Toad Land

Subscribers and regular visitors of this blog know that I love cats, but my world is not completely cat-centered, I like many other animals as well. Since years I try to protect and promote the toads in the garden. Four years ago when I came home from work I found a small young toad just crossing the little road which parts the garden from the forest. I took it with a paper tissue and held it in my hand for some moments. It didn’t move or try to escape and just looked at me. I felt through the paper tissue that it had a rather cold and wet skin.

Toads are not as warm and cuddly as cats, but I nevertheless like them.

toad 6

I carried the toad to the garden pond and put it into the grass. Maybe she remained there but I don’t know, I didn’t see her when I looked around in the following days.

Two years ago a big toad laid her spawn into the pond. She stayed at the pond for some time, maybe to guard and defend the spawn, and I could watch her and make many photographs of her. She was not shy and always looked at me seemingly interested. The eggs developed soon and the pond was full of tadpoles, they are really funny to watch.

Unfortunately at this time dragonfly nymphs had conquered the pond and nearly wiped out any other water life. The dragonfly nymphs are the bane of every garden pond, they are terrible predators. I tried to eliminate them and killed hundreds with various sophisticated methods using butterfly nets and grabbers, but in the end they got the better of me.

The nymphs also murdered the little innocent tadpoles and I was terribly sad to see the tadpoles disappear. Yet in next spring it came out that at least two tadpoles had survived, had become toadlets, and finally young toads. The young toads are all dark grey, Toads get their orange color only when they are adults.


Last year one of the young toads laid her spawn ribbons in the pond but the eggs didn’t develop because they were instantly engulfed by algae. No tadpoles. I encountered the young toads several times during last summer and took them in my hand a few times to carry them to a secure place. I always have to take care that the cats don’t get them, the cats are merciless killers, they already murdered a lizard and two frogs (and countless mice, voles, moles, birds). Killing mice and voles is their job of course and I don’t object to that, though I pity the poor mice.

This year very early in spring a toad spawned again and the eggs were engulfed by algae slime again and failed to develop. After that I took a serious effort to clear the pond from algae and I also put out as much decayed plants and leaves and other organic material as possible. Two weeks later the toad spawned a second time. I don’t know if it was indeed the same toad, maybe it was the mother who just wanted to show her daughter how to make it right. The eggs developed and there were again tadpoles swirling around in the pond — I was exuberant.

tadpole 2

The dragonfly nymphs at this time had declined dramatically but the tadpoles nevertheless disappeared after a month. Before that happened I caught some and put them into two other small ponds which I have established in the last two years. Two month later I found out that young frogs had discovered and populated the garden pond and they probably killed the nymphs and the tadpoles alike.

But, similar to what happened two years before, a few tadpoles escaped and also the tadpoles in the smaller ponds survived and all became tiny toadlets whom I had the pleasure to watch jumping into safety as I approached the ponds. The dragonfly nymphs have disappeared, maybe the tiny snails who eat algae and many years ago kept the pond free from algae will have a chance again to prosper and I will not need to collect the algae in spring from the uncomfortably cold water of the ponds.

Toads of all sizes from 3 to 16 centimeters are now hopping around in the garden and clear it from slugs and snails and other pests. I will not need snail traps and snail bait anymore. I have made many refuges and hideouts for the toads with piles of big stones, heaps of old branches, and areas that are overgrown with thorny blackberry shrubs. The main garden pond is also partly shielded by blackberry shrubs and a small water filled basin beside it is completely covered with thorny branches.

I can only guess what is going on there.

Three years ago I sighted a grass snake at the pond and I was worried because the preferred diet of grass snakes are toads. I have not seen the snake since then and it appears that the snake has moved on because either the toads were too clever or the snake went to another place looking for a mate.

The mystery of the frogs seems to have been solved, because, as I learned a little time ago, a neighbor down the road in a distance of some 100 meters has dug a garden pond, encouraged by my example, and he told me that he fetched some frogs from a lake to populate the pond with them. I’m sure that some of the frogs swarmed out to explore the surrounding and ended up at my pond.

If only more people would establish garden ponds and less endocrine disrupters would be poured into the waterways, the toads would not be a threatened species.

Well, at least they have it good here, and they will continue to have it good here because I will take care of them.

Until now I called the house “Cat Paradise,” I will have to amend the name to “Cat and Toad Paradise.”

toads pairing

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