It's been a mild Winter / Spring so far. In February it was bucketting down rain, then we had 10 days without a drop, and then we had a couple of storms - situation normal for Ireland. In early Feb I was up the hill on my own and stepped over the fence into the Sitka forest owned by Coillte. It's at least 40 year since it was planted through the steading known as Dreelan's and across the county border into Wexford. It was thinned about 15 years ago and it has been ready for clear felling for the last couple of years. It's dark in the forest and dank and mysterious and in the right season rich in fungi. When the forwarder was in there thinning, several roads where driven through the trees to access all areas. The forest floor was well torn up by the monster machines which cut the trees and extracted them in 8ft and 16ft lengths.
Wherever these tracks levelled out the ruts filled with water and there was a local flush of bright green sphagnum and other mosses. When I visited that February day, the surface of the pools was half-and-half frog-spawn and water and the eggs were piled high and deep in a vivid statement of fecund abundance. As I approached invisible frogs disappeared beneath the surface with a noticeable plop.