Frog spawn spotted five months early due to mild winter weather

The Woodland Trust has recorded the earliest frogspawn in nearly a decade, believed to be caused by the recent mild weather. 

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Common frogs in pond

The Woodland Trust has recorded the earliest frogspawn in nearly a decade. The finding on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall is believed to be due to the mild winter weather and comes five months before the national average for frogspawn, on the 8th March. 

The frogspawn was spotted on the Lizard Peninsula in Cornwall by National Trust ranger Rachel Holder on November 21st. She said: “Here on the Lizard, in the far south-west of the UK, our mild climate gives lots of species a head start, but our frogs have taken this further than most! [This find] is early, but not unheard of in a Cornish context. The risk is that a severe cold-snap could freeze the spawn.”

Dr Kate Lewthwaite, Nature’s Calendar Project Manager at the trust, said: “Although spring is generally arriving earlier, to receive a frogspawn sighting before winter has properly begun is highly unusual. Given the reasonably mild weather we have been enjoying recently it is possible for frogs to be fooled into spawning early, but sadly it is unlikely the spawn will now survive the frosts we are experiencing.”

The trust has also reported changes to other species. Snowdrops, normally spotted in January, have been seen in November and December since 2001, and ladybirds, usually hibernating during winter, have been seen in December intermittently since 2002. 

The Woodland Trust are asking people to add sightings to their Nature’s Calendar to help analyse the long-term risks posed to frogs by climate change. 

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