Monday, 29 January 2018

A Mystery Solved

We had a Sunday group out in the New Forest today (29th) looking for woodpeckers and other woodland species.  Highlight of the morning probably has to be coming across a small feeding group of six Marsh Tits plus one seen earlier, along with other tit species.  There were also a lot of Stock Dove activity and we recorded our first singing Chaffinch and Mistle Thrush of the year.  We ended our walk with a great view of a male Crossbill which seemed to be singing a sub-song.

Crossbill - Shattisford New Forest © Nick Hull
Crossbill - Shattisford © Joe Baldwin
Though we also had a bit of a mystery, Fran called me to what looked like single frogs eggs (spawn) on a leaf, then we found it wasn't the only sample of spawn there were lots scattered all over a fallen tree and all around a patch about a metre square.  We discussed various theories but came to no conclusions.  I ended the conversation by saying I'll put it out on Twitter someone will know.  Once home I uploaded photographs taken at the time and soon after received a couple of replies.  One of these was from Richard Broughton @woodlandbirder that we had considered but with first hand knowledge is always better.  He replied  "A raptor (usually Buzzard) has eaten a frog, and discarded the spawn. It gets scattered around as they flick it off, and some maybe washed off by rain, which expands it", this seems the most plausible as we know there are Buzzards in the area.

Frog Spawn scattered probably by a Buzzard when eating Frog.
Scattered Frog Spawn over fallen tree

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