For the past three years, I’ve been featuring a watering hole on my property in Anza to get a better look at the wildlife that I share this place with and to help them through the horrible drought we are experiencing — and continue to experience in the “no Niño” winter/spring of 2015-2016.
I’ve been concerned from Day 1 about mosquitoes breeding using this water source. (While we don’t have many mosquitoes in Anza, we have a few, and I don’t want to be the one responsible for them reproducing in large numbers.) In the past, I combatted this by emptying the water hole every other week. — Boy, was that a chore.
Then, someone suggested I put fish in the pond to eat the mosquito larvae. I did a little research and this seemed like a viable alternative. So I drove to Hemet and got myself a gallon ziplock bag with a few mosquito fish in it using the Mosquito Fish Program offered by RivCo Vector Control. I bought some pond plants from a local koi supply store. (I was told both the plants and the fish would reproduce, based on the carrying capacity of my little ecosystem, so I should start with just a few of each.) By the end of the day, my little body of water was transformed from a watering hole to a pond.
One benefit of not flushing the water every two weeks is that the Western Toads that I have attracted to my property for the past two years will now be able to reproduce and have their eggs go from tadpoles to baby frogs. And, wouldn’t you know, the very day I put the fish in the pond, I captured two toads “going at it” at water’s edge that evening.
I got a close-up a little later that night of what I think is the female. (I’m no expert in sexing toads, but this one appears to be the one on the underside in the photo above.)