THIS is the time of the year when records start pouring in of sightings of frog spawn.

This is always a happy time and a sign that spring is on the way.

The year 2002, however, may well have a sad side to it.

In the south of England frogs are coming out of hibernation and then die.

The problem seems to be a virus which causes the skin to turn red and to ulcerate.

All naturalists have been asked to report sightings of frogs in trouble and all records sent to the LET will be passed on to those who are investigating the problem.

Records this week have been sent in by Victor Crawshaw, Enid Neild, Brian Duggan, Bernard Lee, Audrey Fitzsimmons, Glenda Hughes, Eric Townson, Glen Pate and Jonathan Aitken.

Records for Rossendale, Burnley, Nelson and Colne

BIRDS -- Long tailed tit, kingfisher, dipper (Cliviger); coot, teal, goosander, goldeneye (Rowley Lake); large flock of greenfinch, tawny owl, goldfinch, treecreeper (Gawthorpe); nuthatch, bullfinch, jay (Towneley).

MAMMALS -- Fox, badger (Rossendale); brown hare (Crown Point.

OTHER ANIMALS -- Chimney sweeper moth, angle shade moth (Towneley).

PLANTS -- Lesser Celandine, red campion, marsh marigold in bud, ivy leaved toadflax (Foulridge).

Records in Darwen, Blackburn and Oswaldtwistle

BIRDS -- Coot, moorhen, goldeneye, goosander (Parsonage Reservoir); treecreeper, nuthatch (Corporation Park); red grouse, peregrine (Darwen Moor); pied wagtail, goldfinch, heron (Foxhill Bank).

MAMMALS -- Brown hare (Pleasington); roe deer (Great Harwood).

PLANTS -- Barren strawberry, snowdrops, herb robert (Pleasington); spleenwort, bracket fungus, jews ear fungus, hazel catkins, alder catkins (Witton Park).

Records in the Ribble Valley

BIRDS -- Raven, peregrine, reed bunting, sparrowhawk (Chatburn); woodpigeon, kingfisher, grey wagtail, jay (Gisburn Mill); goosander, scaup, goldeneye, heron (Barrow); mandarin duck, long tailed tit, dipper (Ings Beck, Downham).

MAMMALS -- Fox, roe deer, sika deer (Bolton by Bowland); brown hare, weasel (Downham); stoat (still in ermine and seen regularly in Chatburn).

OTHER ANIMALS -- House spider, angle shades moth (Chatburn); banded snail (Waddington Fell); frog (Ribchester).

PLANTS -- Stinking hellebore, a very early flower of marsh marigold, hazel catkins (Chatburn); herb robert, harts tongue fern, golden saxifrage, alder catkins, dogs mercury (Brungerley Bridge).