Signs of Spring

Monday, February 9th 2015

Warmer weather over the weekend has given the reserve a completely different feeling; the ground is no longer frozen under your feet, although there are a few icy patches lingering on the lake and some ponds. The birds are once again starting to sing and the list of flowers is, ever so slowly, starting to grow, a sure sign volunteers are ‘rooting about’ for signs of spring.

One of the most eagerly awaited sights as the seasons turn is the appearance of the first frog spawn. While this is at least a few weeks off there have been signs that these animals are beginning to become more active.

A clear jelly-like substance can be found in several places at the moment, sometimes containing fine black dots, like in the photo below. Previously this ‘slime’ has been linked to falling meteors fungi and slime moulds; however, it is much more likely to be unfertilised frog spawn from a predated female. Once attacked, it is quite natural for the frog to drop its spawn, which on contact with water or moist ground will swell forming the jelly like substance we can see below.

The earliest we have seen frog spawn in the ponds in recent years was on the 24th February in 2012. We will be keeping an eye out over the next few weeks for this exciting yearly event.


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