Striding out across Marymead with the dogs the other week I did a double take…‘No, surely not.’ I exclaimed ‘It can’t be!’ ‘This most certainly is a first.’
The dogs instantly wheeled back from their beginning-of-a-walk harum-scarum charge into the blue yonder, surprised by my exclamations and to investigate the cause of them.
There, in a glutinous, glistening mass was a large spewed out excrescent of frog spawn! Disbelieving I thought I must be mistaken and it was most probably a pool of slime mould. But after I examined it, touched it, prodded it I was convinced it was frog spawn – though devoid of its black pin-prick nuclei. The dogs, disappointed in my apparent fascination for a lump of bland jelly-like substance, went back to the much more exciting sport of scent tracking.
Arriving back at the farmhouse I showed Robert the photos I’d taken and waited for his thoughts. Yes, he agreed, it looked very like frog spawn.
“But isn’t that impossibly early?” I asked “I know I find it January, but never, ever in November. And where’s the nuclei?”
Robert’s explanation was that it had most probably come from frog killed and opened by a predator, perhaps a heron, with the immature spawn emptying out and expanding in the wet conditions.
Interesting – but probably not officially a first.