Spring has sprung!

We all have our cues for the changing of the seasons. Cues for Spring are especially welcome, be it the first wild primroses or the deep-throated chorus of frogs.

For me, the frogs are especially welcome, as they promise a couple of months of fascination as the spawn develops into tadpoles and then through to froglets.

It is always a treat to check out their progress. It invites you to take a little time out and read the news of the pond. Be careful though, it can be a gateway drug, compelling you to check out the other pond dwellers, like the pond skaters and diving beetles. There is no end to the hidden life of ponds 😉

Last year, I seem to remember that we had spawn in the first couple of days in February, so I was getting worried when I saw no discernible action by the end of week 2. I had set up a camera hoping to capture some of the carry on…

My patience was rewarded on Valentine’s Day (something in the air maybe?) with the first low pitch grumbling chorus being heard. Since then we have spawn and action day and night. They are still at it as I write 🙂

I caught some of the action on camera, so here’s a sample, or four:

Cats eat frog spawn!

I had the camera in the pond for a few days. On February 19th, I was surprised to learn that one of our cats seemed to enjoy eating the frog spawn. It makes sense of course, but I’d never thought about it being one of the hazards that frog reproduction had to deal with! Looking back, maybe the daily feeds of caviar as a kitten were a mistake? Only joking 😉

The action continued regardless into the evening of that day, when the number of frogs had multiplied:

Still the cat monitored the action and ate its fill of spawn, all the while seemingly prowling for the adults. Cats are really an issue for wildlife and it was interesting to witness this insight into their behaviour.

The Irish Peat Conservation Council have a nice factsheet on frogs 🙂 http://www.ipcc.ie/a-to-z-peatlands/frogs/

Other cues

Looking forward now to some more signs of Spring, from flowering willows with emergent queen bumble bees foraging, to daffodils, to the first blackthorn flowers and whitethorn leaves, and that feeling of heat on your back in the midday Sun.

I notice that the Irish Farmers’ Journal has a timely article on monitoring those Spring cues too: https://www.farmersjournal.ie/keep-an-eye-out-for-the-first-flowers-flights-and-frogs-602241

Btw, sorry about the title, as silly as it is, I couldn’t resist 😉

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