Toad walk :-)

Yesterday with a nice increase in temperature I was able to see my favorite British herp, the Common toad (Bufo bufo) in considerable numbers within a moorland lodge, as well as the surrouding areas. As I visited the area in the late evening it was nice to hear many males calling from the edge of the water, and many toads were already in amplexus, some had even laid some strings of eggs. In addition, today I went to visit my father close to Bury in Lancashire and I explored some nice fishing lodges close to his house. Here I found hundreds more toads busy reproducing, and sadly I saw quite a number that had been run over while migration across a busy country road to the pond.

Check out the video by Andrew Gray from the pond were we saw the breeding toads:

A female Common toad (Bufo bufo) that was moving towards her breeding pond

Male Common toad (Bufo bufo)

Eggs of Common toad (Bufo bufo)

Also on thursday evening I visited a really nice pond to photograph some Smooth newts (Lissotriton vulgaris). The pond was full of breeding newts, in fact I have never seen so many newts in one small pond. There must have been around a hundred or more of these little amphibians, and it was great to observe them in the middle of some courting behaviour. Interestingly the Common frog (Rana temporaria) had only just began to breed in this pond at a higher altitude, whereas at lower elevations they reproduced several weeks ago. I must thank Carl Corbidge who showed me this fantastic pond, as I had asked him if he knew good places for Smooth newts as I was really eager to photograph a breeding male, like the one in the photo below:

Male Smooth newt (Lissotriton vulgaris) with breeding spots along the body

Common frogs (Rana temporaria) breed several weeks later at this higher altitude pond

By Matt Wilson

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