Warm spells will bring frogs into mating activity. Since our last post we now have 5 clumps of frog spawn laying in the shallow, warm water area of our pond. They have started to join into one loose mass so they must have been laid a few days ago but we didn’t notice them straight away. This is not as much as we have had in previous years so we are hoping for a second batch later on.
Sharp frosts at night can make frog spawn vulnerable as it is laid on top of the water surface – the outside eggs may be killed but leave the clump alone as the central eggs will be protected and can survive if the weather warms sufficiently.
Remember to count the number of tight ‘tennis ball-sized’ clumps of frog spawn in your pond as this will tell you how many breeding females you have and then complete the Freshwater Habitats Big Spawn Count. (previously Pond Conservation). See our Frog Tips and Advice page.
Newt eggs tend to be more protected from frosts as they are wrapped and hidden in the water. Their breeding ritual takes place in deeper water and the results are less easily recognized than that of frogs – newt eggs are tiny and best noticed by finding the folded leaf of Myosotis scorpioides, Veronica beccabunga or Rorippa nasturtium-aquaticum on or near the water surface. For more information see our Tips and Advice page about Newts.
Protective plant cover and oxygenating plants are vital to the survival of all these young amphibians that are not yet ready to leave the pond. Submerged oxygenating plants should be your first priority this Spring. Make sure you have a selection as they all respond to changes in water temperature at a different rate. Ceratophyllum demersum, Myriophyllum spicatum and Ranunculus aquatilis are all available now.