After several days when temperatures have been up to 12 degrees C the unseasonal weather is starting to confuse the Park’s wildlife.

The Park Centre and offices are full of blue-bottle flies which have woken from hibernation and are trying to get outside. Spiders can be seen spinning again and a female frog was found in the disabled toilet. Frogs always start spawning before the toads but typically this behaviour starts in early February.

This female frog, heavy with spawn, had come out of hibernation and was heading for the nearby pond. The majority of the other local frogs will be buried in the mud at the bottom of the pond and so better insulated against sudden short-term temperature changes.

The problem for all these species when they are brought out of hibernation is that a quick return to the more usual cold temperatures can prove fatal.

The long-range forecast is pointing to a very cold week in the middle of January with the prospect of snow!