Despite the warm conditions of this winter many of the traditional aspects of spring were a bit slow in appearing, but now Wicklow is aglow with the bright yellow of tall daffodils and the shimmering dense clusters of the Lesser Celandine. Under the leafless canopies of trees sea of violets are blooming.
Although there were reports of frogs spawning in various parts of Ireland before Christmas, I have only found frogspawn and frogs in breeding pools and ponds within the last two weeks on the landward or seaward side of the mountains. This is probably due to their experiences of the last few years, and the unexpected Siberian coldsnap that brought freezing temperatures across Europe and almost as far as Ireland. Frogspawn can freeze and die, and frogs sometimes get caught out, but tend for the most part to spawn in accordance with the general weather-pattern.
The frogs in the above photograph are in amplexus which is when the male grasps the larger female around her waist and clings to her, so that he may fertilise her eggs as they enter the water. Fertilisation occurs outside of the female’s body.