Is this the UKs first frog spawn?

Trevor Theobald from Spittal in the far west of Wales reports to us frog spawn yesterday, the 5th Feb.

He’s certainly in the right place for it because south, west and mid Wales are traditionally amongst the earliest places in Britain for frogs to spawn.

UPDATE: Neil has pointed to another record, on the WildAboutBritain forum, from Cornwall, also yesterday here.

UPDATED AGAIN: And an even earlier one – here on Nature’s Calendar.

See the maps below: one produced by Maxwell Savage 50 years ago and a more recent one based on modern recording (which also indicates that spawning is getting a bit earlier too).

Contour maps (a) from Savage (1961) showing the date of first appearance (day of year) of frogspawn for the period 1938–1947, and in colour (the lower map)  updated showing the date of first appearance (day of year) of frogspawn for the period 1998–2007. ‘Day number’ refers to the days after January 1st. The coloured map is from this paper. If you want a full copy of the paper, e-mail the authors who will (usually) send you one free of charge if its for a serious, non-profit use.

So, can anyone beat 5th February?


29 Responses to “Is this the UKs first frog spawn?”

  1. neil Says:

    Looks like there is some in cornwall too:

  2. Alan Says:

    My pond had 3 croaking frogs last night.I dug it Oct 2009 but had no frogs in spring 2010,so I added a small amount of borrowed spawn which produced about 20 large young frogs.Is it possible that the current croakers are last year’s youngsters,or must they be new colonists?I thought frogs took 2-3 years to mature.Thanks.

  3. Mary-Ros Lane Says:

    I found frozen frogspawn at 420m on the top of Exmoor near Simonsbath on January 7th 2010. It was lying on snow beside a frozen ditch.
    I had the first spawn in my garden pond in Exeter on the night of Feb 4th – 5th.

  4. Arty Ness Says:

    We found frogspawn yesterday (6th Feb) in Great Combe, on the edge of Dartmoor. I wish we’d checked a couple of days ago!

  5. Alasdair Says:

    Hello, first frogspawn seen on the local golfcourse here in Carradale,Kintyre, yesterday 8th feb 11 .

  6. Barbara Says:

    I live in Blaenau Gwent and I found loads of frog spawn last week in 2 ponds on the mountainside above our house.The higher pond is approx .1200feet above sea level.Most of it will be predated but I’m hoping some will survive.

  7. Bob Vickery Says:

    Wednesday morning 9th February a small patch of spawn but no movement on the small (5 sq mtre) pond in our garden. Overnight rain and milder and Thursday morning 10/2 counted over 50 frogs active in the water.
    We dug the pond four year’s ago when the neighbour filled his (after removing residents) to provide extra parking !! and the next winter we had to collect the puzzled frogs on a few damp mild evenings and carry them a few yards further to our new pond. Their GPS seems to have worked unaided since then. Location, Dawlish, Devon.

  8. mark Says:

    I live 10 mile S.E.Plymouth & I first noticed Frogs Spawn on 2nd Feb & frogs are still at it 🙂

  9. M Latham Says:

    first frog spawn here in gosport on 19th feb

  10. jim&norah jacques Says:

    over the past 20 years we have had loads of frogspawn until the past two years when there was nothing. we live in the suberbs of plymouth surrounded by woodland with a small stream nearby. my wife has kept records of the first frogspawn right back to 1989. next door neighbours have two cats who spen d a lot of time by the pond. are there any frog experts out who can explain this situation. incidentally there was a dead fully grown frog in the pond two weeks ago.

  11. jim&norah jacques Says:

    Since 1989 when we first aquired our pond we have had frog spawn every year without fail,but none last year and as yet none this year.My wife has religiously kept records on the dates we first noticed spawn ranging from some years December and some years February. A few weeks ago my wife found a dead fully grown frog in the pond which we have not had before, and our next door neighbours cats spend a lot of time around the pond. Help you experts out there , where have our frogs gone . Loads of newts, but alas no frogs.

    • stephen shotton Says:

      Jim & Norah

      If you have a small garden pond with lots of newts your frogs
      will slowly disappear. The newts will eat all the tadpoles if their
      numbers are left unchecked. If you want frogs breeding in your
      pond I would suggest you relocate 90% of your newt population.
      presuming they are only common newts ?

  12. Roanne Says:

    I live in West Yorkshire & after finding about 20 dead frogs in my small pond, I have been looking every morning hoping that at least 2 frogs had overwintered on land. So I was really glad to see one lot of frogspawn this morning. I know it may not be fertilised, but I do hope it is!

  13. Jo Says:


  14. j rae Says:

    on 26th Feb 2011 we had an adult female carrying a small younger frog on it’s back higher up
    it was making passage through our garden (as others always do)
    towards a neighbouring pond we think
    anyhow this adult was going very tentative so we carefully lifted across on doing this the younger frog that adult was carrying started to let out a call sound (trill) has anyone else seen or had the same experience ???

  15. Solarpowerman Says:

    I have at least 25 frogs many have paired and still laying lots of spawn. Many of them have bred since I built their home 6 years ago here in Slough. Berks. I have since built a new 5ft deep Koi pond where I lift out any frogs that find their way down the 7 metre stream and put them back into their pond. I guess they like the warmer water in my solar heated Koi pond. It has kept to over 11 degs all this winter in spite of all the overnight frosts since October.

  16. SueO Says:

    At last I have frog spawn! Had been feeling quite smug earlier in the year as we had no frog mortalities which I put down to keeping our pump going all winter to circulate oxygenated water. Then, by late February, having seen no sign of frogs (dead or alive) in the pond I began to wonder if the lack of dead frogs just meant there weren’t any frogs in the pond at all. However, a few days ago at least a couple of dozen appeared – lively and very noisy – and this morning…SPAWN. My pond is quite heavily shaded in winter and takes quite a while to warm up I guess.

    • Jeremy Biggs Says:

      Interesting to hear all that Sue – shady pond with spawn (interesting, as people say ponds should be out in open), and pump keeping mortalities at bay. Do you think you’ve got frogs in winter – it always seems hard to be certain without a huge amount of poking about!

      • SueO Says:

        Hi Jeremy – really no idea if there were actually any frogs in the pond over winter. They were certainly there in spring, summer and early autumn before the big freeze struck. I do have a wood pile close to the pond so it’s possible they were there over winter although temperatures here (Vale of York) were so low for such a long period that I’m pretty sure the pile and ground beneath would have been frozen solid. Ice on the pond (except where the pump kept it open) was a good 5cm thick for several weeks.

        P.S. Frogs still spawning despite much cooler weather here.

  17. Jo Says:


  18. stephen shotton Says:

    Some frogs will overwinter in the pond (mostly males) and some on land.
    I have marsh frogs in my pond and they always hibernate in the water but this spring I have so far only seen 1 so I fear the worst. 8 clumps of
    common spawn last time I looked.

  19. Sally Says:

    We have only just got frogspawn in our ponds (Shropshire) and the first lot was attached to bits of frog! Do you think it was attacked or split open somehow? I took some photos but can’t work out how to send them!

  20. Keith Hiscock Says:

    Try again to leave a comment (yesterdays seems not to have popped-up) – First frogspawn yesterday 21st January 2012 in my pond in Plymouth. So, that’s a couple of weeks earlier than expected. Comments?

    • Jeremy Biggs Says:

      Thanks Keith.

      Do fill in Big Spawn Count forms: we’re after maximum spawn count as we’re seeing if its possible to get handle on garden frog population sizes – so keep an eye out to see if you get any more spawn later before filling in the form.


  21. Chris Says:

    Frogs spawned here in Plymouth on the 18/1/2012 in garden pond have seen up to 12 frogs.

  22. Greg Herne Says:

    Frog spawn in my pond in Whitstable Kent on 24th Feb one day earlier than last year !

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