This internet photograph posted by Peter Church [Geography] shows extensive pools of water on Anlaby Common in February 2008 following a wet winter. Peter commented that the Common would soon be invaded by frogs and then the pools would be full of spawn.
Some 10-20 years earlier, large rafts of Common Frog Rana temporaria spawn had been recorded on the Common by Paul Benson [British Herpetological Society]. The main breeding site was a wide water-filled depression about 30 metres from the eastern boundary of back gardens. The area usually dried out by late summer, although sometimes sooner when much spawn would have perished. He estimated the annual number of clumps as 1986 >500; 1987 >3000; 1996 >900; 1998 >1000.
These observations show how important Anlaby Common has been as a breeding site for the Common Frog.
Such an abundance of breeding frogs would have attracted amphibian predators to the Common. It is notable that a White Stork Ciconia ciconia, was seen feeding on frogs on the flooded Common in April 2001 [Broughton, Birds of the Hull area]; a photograph of the bird with an anuran in its bill is featured in the YNU's Yorkshire Rare and Scarce Birds Report 2001. The stork was first seen on the 2nd April and remained there until the 5th. A photograph apparently taken about 30 years ago of another rare bird, the Great Grey Shrike Lanius excubitor, on Anlaby Common was posted on Twitter recently. As this species is known to include amphibians in its diet, I wonder if it was attracted to the Common by the frogs (although the month the bird was seen is not recorded).
Richard Shillaker, 3 January 2021