Froggie went a-courtin'
A dismal day of rain and mist was brightened by the discovery of the first frog spawn of the year when I took the rubbish bags down to the road. I've been keeping my eye on this once-pond for several weeks. In mild winters I've found spawn here in the first week of January - not this year but now suddenly it's arrived! Three clumps each the size of a human head and composed of 1500 or more gelatinous spheres with a black dot in the middle. Well, everybody knows what frog spawn looks like.
A proper farm pond was marked here on old maps and they were common enough before the advent of piped water troughs. I've asked the farmer who owns the land if he wouldn't like to re-establish it as a wildlife resource but I think he's worried about safety issues.
Only a small area of open water remains now and it usually dries up as the year wears on. Tadpoles take 12 weeks to reach maturity so it can be a race against time for the emergence of any juvenile frogs at all.