Frogs began spawning a little earlier than usual in a warm February. Male frogs spend winter at the bottom of ponds,their metabolism slowed down to a mere comatose state. Females usually find a hidey hole on land and when spring arrives they make their way to ponds where males await them (pictured).

Then begins a frantic scramble for mates , a 'froggy frenzy' in fact. So strong is their urge to spawn that sometimes any old shallow still water body will do. Some years ago during a stormy night my dustbin lid was blown away and landed upside down on the lawn. The next morning I found the upturned lid full of spawn alhough my garden pond was only a metre away.

Every spawning produces thousands of eggs which is just as well because several creatures relish eating spawn including herons, ducks and newts. The latter push their noses into the jelly and extract the embryos within. From each spawning maybe only two frogs will survive to maturity thus hopefully maintaining population levels.

Unlike frogs, there is no direct physical contact between newts when mating. Instead, when a male locates a female he will move around her, vigorously waving his colourful flag of a tail thereby wafting pheromones in her direction. If he sees that his chosen mate is suitably impressed with his efforts he deposits a sperm capsule over which the female swims and absorbs it into her body.

Newt eggs, little blobs of jelly with a yellow embryo are laid singly, and wrapped in water plant leaves.

Spawning over, frogs and newts move away from water and disperse widely over surrounding areas.