February Frogspawn

It’s not properly February until the frogspawn turns up in Wheatland Farm’s ponds. As normal, we’ve first spotted it in the lodge field pond – on the 5th, though it could have been laid earlier.

Our Devon days are still short, and the meadows are wet. The eco lodges are still having catch up renovations (mostly refreshed floors for Honeysuckle and Nuthatch Lodges, but Beech Lodge is getting an extra loo and a dish washer), and yet the year is turning. Along the lodge path the snowdrops are out, and the daffodils are in pen. And best of all, the main indicator of the final days of winter is here – frogspawn has turned up in the corner pond of the lodge field.

Producing frogspawn this early is a risky strategy for the frogs, as a cold snap is still possible in February even in Devon. Sometimes it can snow for several days. Well ok, that hasn’t happened in very recent years, and climate change makes it less likely, but a frost hard enough to kill off the frogspawn is quite possible.

But the corner of the lodge field is where we always look first, being shallow and sheltered. Sure enough, there were a few large clumps of glistening frogspawn.

If you look closely, you can see some of the black dots inside the glossy jelly are more than just tiny pin pricks, so it seems likely this frogspawn turned up a few nights ago when we weren’t looking. Sometimes we come out every day at this time of year to watch for the first signs of spring, but this year we’ve skipped a few checks.

Meanwhile, with the leaves off the trees, when we get a clearish evening, the sunsets can be fabulous. There’s no filtering on this one. It is a view of the lodge field taken from the old farmhouse.