Flanders Moss NNR
Snow, hail, wind and rain. Spring in Scotland. It can be difficult to get yourself going after what seems like an endless winter of all of the above. But somehow the wildlife is thinking Spring, despite the weather. So a splashy stomp round Flanders, cleaning out ditches to slow down the amount of water flooding onto farmers fields revealed signs of nature’s mind turning to procreation.
The first frogs spawn that I have seen this year is now in the pool by the pond dipping platform and also by the bridge. Driving rain had stopped play when I passed so there was no sign of the participants but bountiful mounds of the result of some activity. Fresh, new frogspawn is a thing of beauty, shiny and glistening like a bag of freshly washed glass eyes.
Frogs take their cue for mating from temperature. If it starts to warm up then they come out of hibernation and head to mating pools. The males attract females with gentle croaking but mating is a grueling process for both males and females. The males jostle with other males to grab a female from behind. Once in position he holds on for up to a day. Meanwhile the female has to carry him around and dodge other males until she has release her eggs and he has fertilised them. A drop in temperature or frosts means that the whole process stops and the frogs lie dormant.
In the fringing woods male Chaffinches were really giving it welly, their clattering song sounds like the action of fast bowler running up and with a flurry bowling a bouncer (I wonder if Mark Wood listens to them for motivation?).
And on the area of ex-plantation where all the old stumps have been flipped a lone lapwing rather disconsolately flapped around his prospective territory. The bog restoration work there has created ideal lapwing habitat as a side benefit.
All signs that nature is waking up and like us really just waiting for a bit of improvement in the weather.