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 😉

A Celebration of the Pine Marten

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 9: A Celebration of the Pine Marten A pine marten minute to enjoy. We've had only a few clips of the pine marten in the last couple of years. It's always exciting to get a brief view into the mysterious world of the elusive pine marten....

A day in the life of the undergrowth

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 8: A day in the life of the undergrowth This is from a couple of years ago, but I still remember reviewing the footage from the SD card. 🙂 Early in the day we see a little water rail. Later in the evening the secretive pine marten comes...

Badger Wrestlers

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 7: Badger Wrestlers We do see badgers occasionally passing by our trail cameras. Typically they are on their way from A to B, without much to report. Occasionally, we get to see them dig for worms as they go, or even sprint off when...

Great Tit

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 6: Great Tit It's mid-April 2022, just before we open up fully and I put a camera on a dead leveret that I'd found. I was hoping for an opportunist fox, or pine marten, to visit so I could see what might happen. What I didn't expect to...

The Irish Stoat

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 5: The Irish Stoat We've only twice captured a stoat on our trail cameras. The first time we saw one, it was in full chase of a rat. It was all over fairly quickly (Stoat 1 : Rat 0). This time the stoat was on its own looking over a...

The Elusive Water Rail

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 4: The Elusive Water Rail You can't imagine the excitement we felt when we saw that we'd caught a water rail on one of our trail cameras. This secretive amber-listed bird is heard more often than seen (said to sound like a squealing pig...

A Busy Redwing

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 3: A Busy Redwing Loads of redwing thrushes in the Purecamping woods in Winter 20022! 🙂 A common, but welcome winter visitor from the North. Birdwatch Ireland has them favouring open fields, but our woods seem to be just as attractive....

A Wonderful Woodcock

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 2: A Wonderful Woodcock The fantastically camouflaged woodcock in the Purecamping woods. Talk about a beautiful bird! Check out the variety of colours in the plumage! Now with a Red conservation status in Ireland due a decline in the...

A Solstice Fox

12 Days of Christmas - 2022 Day 1: A Solstice Fox As we enjoy our Christmas fare, spare a thought for all our wildlife. Daytime sightings of the Fantastic Mr. Fox are rare, but Winter hardship can force daylight foraging. Just think about their challenge of waking...

The 12 birds of Christmas 2021

#1 Santa's robin, a favourite for many. This robin was in the bushes waiting for an opportunity to collect the crumbs left by the other birds on the feeder. #2 Goldfinch - Lasair choille (Wood or Forest Flame) Easy to see where it got its name. This confident little...


+353 (0)86 381 9216