I didn't really notice it when we were inspecting and buying the house. And when we moved in I first thought it was just a bit of messy garden wall, that had filled up in the rain. But on inspection I realised it was a planned feature of the garden, as it was much bigger than just a hollow that had accidentally filled up with water. And then I realised - we had tadpoles! Quite a large number of tadpoles......
But although we knew there were tadpoles there we could not work out what kind of frog they were from. Or where said frog was to be found.
I figured we would just let the tadpoles grow up, become frogs, and then we would take the pond out. How long can that process take? Turns out it can take an awful lot longer than I would have expected. And somewhat foolishly, I sort of thought that the tadpoles had been laid, then the frog parents had disappeared, and so this would be a one off process. But as I waited for the tadpoles to grow legs and hop away I realised there were more and more of them, and there were tiny ones and huge ones. So the frog parents were still around.
This video is fairly dodgy quality but I took it on my phone, to try to show the numbers of tadpoles we had -
And we still weren't quite sure what kind of frog we were dealing with. Then we realised that a noise we heard nearly every night, and that sounded like a slow drip from a drain pipe onto the tin roof, was actually the frog! And once I googled frogs and the inner west of Sydney - I found my culprit.
The striped marsh frog is apparently very common in Eastern Australia.
(This photograph is via Tasmanian Parks and Wildlife and by Alex Dudley)
So I hadn't managed to find some rare colony of protected species. And more of an issue - the tadpoles take between eight and twelve months to mature!
The pond was ugly and took up precious garden space, so we decided that the tadpoles had to go. We gave some away to a friend living near by who wanted to start a pond, and then we drained the pond. But before we did we pulled out the rubbish and while moving the black plastic liner - we found our mummy or daddy frog - hiding in the folds of the plastic.
I didn't want to disturb the frog too much, but our messing around with it's home must have made it want to leave anyway, as when I went back the next day the frog was gone.
The pond area is now a garden bed. And the frog is still around somewhere close by as I hear it "tocking" all the time!