Easter eggs

What was your first thought when you read the headline?  Chocolate?  Sweets?  If so, on this occasion you were wrong.

Spring equinox has now passed and the days are getting lighter and brighter.  As we receive more sunshine each day the air temperature is increasing.  These two factors are the cues for numerous species to begin breeding and for many this results in the laying of eggs.  For animals such as rooks, frogs, and possibly some bumblebees, this may mean the laying of an egg in time for Easter.

Queen buff-tailed bumblebee Bombus terrestris foraging on crocus flowers. Photograph: Andrew Cutts

While out and about watch out for signs in the behaviour of animals indicating egg laying is under way.  Rooks and other crows can be seen gathering materials such as dry leaves to line their nest cup.  Frogs might still be active in shallow pools where they’ve recently spawned and within the clumps of frogspawn the tadpoles can be seen developing.  Buff-tailed bumblebee queens may be spotted searching out empty rodent burrows at the base of hedgerows where they will establish their own nest upon the remains of the previous occupant’s nest material.

Frogspawn at St Ives. Photograph: Andrew Cutts