Another clump of frog spawn

Three clumps of frog spawn appeared in our pond on the 15 March 2010. I assumed that would be “it” for this year but this morning there was another clump in the pond. I also noticed that there are quite a few smooth newts in the pond now and I suspect they’ll take their toll on the tadpoles.

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First frog spawn of 2010

Yesterday I was really pleased to see a clump of frog spawn in the pond. The appearance of frog spawn is slightly earlier than last year (18th March) and later than both of the previous years (3rd March and 23rd February). Sorry for the arty photo 🙂

Frog spawn

This morning I was even more pleased to see two more clumps of spawn. This is the most we’ve ever had in the pond.
Three clumps of frog spawn

One big difference this year was the presence of adult frogs in the pond. We’ve rarely seen adult frogs in the garden but there were ten or more adult frogs in the pond today.

An adult frog in the pond (_Rana temporaria_)

(V’s photo)

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Signs of spring?

We’ve had a few days of warm weather and the garden is bursting in to life. One of my favourite sights at this time of year are crocuses. I love the fact that these early flowers give a splash of colour and provide nectar to the first insects to appear after winter.

White crocuses in the garden

Purple crocuses in the garden

I also saw another early butterfly, following on from the Red Admiral I saw in January, I saw a Small tortoiseshell (Aglais urticae) today:

Small tortoiseshell butterfly

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Pond tidy up

I spent some time clearing up the pond this weekend. The pond was getting a bit overgrown (as seen on the pond timeline). It was fairly chilly work but it’s the best time to clear out the excess weed from the pond as the animals and plants haven’t really got going yet. As a result the effect of removing the weed has the lowest impact on other things.

Despite the cold weather, and it being early in the year, I still found a few damselfly larvae and also an adult Smooth newt (Triturus vulgaris):

Smooth newt (_Triturus vulgaris_)

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First butterfly of 2010

I saw my first butterfly of the year today; one of those moments an entomologist looks forward to every year. It was a Red Admiral (Vanessa atalanta), a species that overwinters as an adult. I think the warm weather brought out this individual a bit earlier than usual. Hopefully this is a positive sign that we’ll have a good year for butterflies.

Red Admiral butterfly (_Vanessa atalanta_)

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