And there was some Frogspawn in our garden pond in Abernyte on morning of 25th March, I had also seen a suspicious swirl suggesting that there was a frog in the pond the day before that - it must have been waiting for a friend to join it!
We went for a walk up at Laird's Loch on Monday 28th March - there has been a lot of logging done over the winter. We encountered a large number of toads out and about crossing the forest tracks. When we looked in the Loch we saw at least 30 toads, possibly more, in the shallows amongst rocks. Some of them were undoubtedly mating in small groups under water. Others seemed to be hanging about, perhaps waiting for more females to show up. We did not see any sign of spawn yet. Strangely, most of the toads were light coloured with a lot of dark spots, and not grey as they usually seem to be when we see them in the garden later in the summer. Perhaps this is because they are only recently out of hibernation and spots are more cryptic in the water?
We saw our first Abernyte Butterflies of the Spring yesterday (15th April 2016). It was a Peacock which was flying around in our garden, close to the pond. Later in the day we saw another Peacock up at North Ballo along with a Small Tortoiseshell.
An Orange Tip butterfly was seen at Kinnaird on 28th April. The Milkmaids or Cuckoo flower on which they lay there eggs are also in flower. Another Spring sign - I noticed that the Red Campion on the roadside coming up the hill from Inchture has been coming into flower since last Monday (2nd May).
I was outside at the cold frames doing my customary slug patrol on Saturday night (7th May) when I heard loud snuffling and grunting coming from the lawn. Switching the head torch to red light (which mammals cannot see) I was rewarded by the sight of two hedgehogs courting together. I left them in peace to get on with it and hoped that they might get a little slug hunting done later.
Then horror or horrors, In the morning I went along towards Kinnaird only to find one very similar hedgehog squashed on the side of the road!