All photographs Copyright Germander Speedwell, but feel free to get in touch if you'd like to use any.
All these photographs were taken by Germander Speedwell at Surrey Docks Farm; the first photos, up to the tadpoles, were taken in 2012, when they all gatherered at a particularly visible end of the pond. The later photographs, covering the froglets to the adults, were taken during lockdown in 2020.
Above: on their way to the annual 'frog festival' in March 2012. The male (on top) has jumped on board this female, swollen with eggs, in order to be in pole position to fertilise the eggs when she releases them into the pond. (The feather isn't part of the outfit, just something they inadvertently picked up while passing the duck enclosure.)
Above photos: the 'frog festival' in full swing, as males scrabble to find females - of which there are usually inconveniently fewer.
Above left: the frogspawn - each black egg is protected within a jelly-like sphere.
Above right: the fertilised eggs become embryos and change form.
Above: the embryos have developed into tadpoles with external feathery gills, which here look rather like hands. (The enlarged one on the right looks strangely like a seal pup...)
Above and right:
more views of the early stage tadpoles,
appearing purply-brown in colour, and
distinguished by their gills and heavy tails.
Above: a week or two later - the tadpoles are changing colour and developing gold flecks, and their gills, now covered with skin, are no longer visible. Some of these tadpoles are upside down; what you're seeing is their mouth and spiral-shaped gut. Over the next months, these tadpoles will slowly develop limbs.
Above: a froglet, found in the pond, with its limbs fully developed, but still with a large tail. It will absorb the tail back into its body before it leaves the pond.
Above: tiny froglets, dispersing around the farm. The one on the left probably left the pond just a day or
two earlier; it's smaller than the top of my little finger.
Above left: a tiny but well-built young frog, probably one of the more successful 'first years', and one of several that like to hang out in the damp areas around the farm's watering hoses.
Above right: a mature adult frog, probably a few years old - also sheltering in the area under a tap. Their colours and patterns vary a lot; this one was particularly pale in colouring.