With the arrival of spring, the ponds on the Lower Mill Estate Nature Reserve are beginning to burst into life. One of the first signs is frogs and toads making their way to the ponds to breed. Children love spotting large lumps of frogspawn in the ponds, which starts off with just a tiny dot in the middle of a ball of jelly. It’s great fun to watch the frogspawn developing over the following days and weeks and turning into tadpoles then froglets. And then the day comes when the froglets become frogs and make their own journey away from the pond and into the big wide world (or nature reserve as it may be!)
On the Lower Mill Estate, one of the best places to look at pondlife, and for frogspawn at this time year is at Pike’s Corner. It has a board walk that leads you to a pond with a sign showing different wildlife that can be found. As spring warms up there will be masses of damselflies and grasshoppers. Our children spend many happy hours trying to catch grasshoppers and watching them leap!
Froglife, a national wildlife conservation charity which focuses on the conservation of the UK’s amphibian and reptile species has produced a great app called ‘Dragon Finder’. You can use it to identify reptiles and amphibians as well as their eggs, larvae and calls and to report sightings. It is available for iPhone and Android. The app can be downloaded from http://www.froglife.org/dragonfinder/app/