THE NATURE TRAIL
STOP No. 7.
THEME: The Middle and Heifer Banks
Our seventh stop brings us to the Middle banks (left pic)and Heifer banks (right pic).
These two fields are another part of the Countryside Stewardship Scheme (CSS) here at Greenheyes.
The first and perhaps the most noticeable feature of these fields is that they are relatively steep forming part of the river Dane's valley sides.
In the hedgerow at the bottom of the banks we find that there is a small, shallow and slow flowing stream. In past times it was probably a drainage ditch which has been slowly filled with sediment.
A closer inspection reveals what appears at first glance to be a spotted mass of jelly. It is in fact hundred's (if not thousands) of frog egg's.
The picture to the right was taken in the same spot about 2 weeks after those above. The egg's have now hatched and the young and as yet limbless frogs (Tadpoles) can be swimming around as a black mass below the surface of the water.
Of the hundreds that you can see here, only a few will survive to become adult frogs
A relative of the frog is the toad, and a short distance up the bank from our young frog's to be, a movement in the grass calls our attention to this example of a young toad.
The toad can be distingushed from the frog by the rough warty texture of its skin.