First Frogspawn

There’s frogspawn in the ponds near the eco lodges. Now it’s official – winter must be on the turn.

Winter 2020/21 has been fairly cold here in Devon, so this year’s frogspawn isn’t especially early. In other years we’ve been seeing it at Wheatland Farm in mid to late January. We didn’t note the exact date last year, but in 2019 we saw some on 31 January, and in 2018 on 23 January, and 28 January in 2016.

It usually turns up first in the seasonal pond in the main lodge field, where we’re also trying to establish a new reed bed. And that’s where we spotted it first this year too, on Saturday 6th February. But now we’be found it in the main wildlife pond below Balebarn Lodge as well. Maggie spotted the globules at the shallow end when she was pulling invasive bullrush. Frogspawn seems to come first, and then later in the spring the toads start moving to the pond to lay their spawn. Theirs isn’t laid in big masses like the frogs, but in long thin strands attached to the water weed.

By April, the water will be teeming with tadpoles. We hope the accommodation sector will be opening back up by then, and that staycations at the eco lodges will be back on the cards for everyone. Lots of you have started booking your summer holidays already, and so we’re looking forward to seeing you all again in our corner of Devon.

Meanwhile, the snowdrops are in full flower by both Balebarn and Beech Lodge, and we’re carrying on with our winter conservation work, coppicing, managing ditches and hedges, cutting back bramble and trying to get tree work done before the bird breeding season begins. And we’re confidently looking forward to warmer days around the corner!