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Wednesday, 29 April 2015

Toad Migration over for another year - Counts.

The Toad Patrols went well at the sites that were monitored, with only a small proportion of toads seen being road casualties, which is what we are aiming at, though it would be nice to have none run over.

A single male and a female with a male clinging on her back "in amplexus"
Safely on their way to the pond.
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Naomi's help organising the patrols in the Upper Calder Valley was much appreciated, and this gave chance for  Portia to carry on patrolling her own patch, having stepped down from the position of overall organiser for the Upper Valley.

Naomi was doing work experience with Hugh Firman of Calderdale Countryside Dept. We wish her well with her studies and career.

Sorry to anyone who wanted to help and didn't get called, (including Naomi's mum). My excuse is it can be quite unpredictable when they are going to start moving - a combination of day length and temperature. Please volunteer again next year.

There were 8 of us regular volunteers in the Lower Valley. Thanks to Kathryn, Martin, Lynn, James, Oden, Mark, and Steve Cummings. Apologies again if I missed anyone off.

In the Upper Valley there were Sam, Portia, Brian, Shirley, Gordon, Eileen, David, Cheryl and Karl plus three other ladies, names unrecorded.

Despite doing it for years, I learn something nearly every season. This time I experienced a rise in temperature after it had gone dark, when a blanket of cloud came over a clear sky. Also most movement was on dry nights, as there wasn't much rain.

Birds like the seven Dotterel yesterday are, not surprisingly, what get most naturalists started, but we had a great Tawny Owl year while out toading. They were hooting and squealing and making all sorts of noises at all three sites I attended, and one patroller got great views of two having a go at each other on a branch just above her head. It was a good breeding year in 2014 for Tawnies.

Two of us were also treated to a sight of Great Crested Newts as Chris Tindal passed by with some for the Cromwell Bottom Newt-night Experience, and stopped to have a chat. My buddy that night, Martin, had never seen any before.

Sam Moore and his helpers up at Portsmouth, Cornholme, had a big year again, but Sam suffered the disappointment of having the material he submitted to a Yorkshire Post reporter being garbled as often happens when general journalists try to write about nature. Sam did have the great success of getting the call of the male Common Toad on BBC Radio 4 as the "Tweet of the Day" (usually a bird).

Toad and other Amphibian Records. Spring Patrols 2015

Thornhills Beck Lane, Brighouse.
9th and 7th April only - Toads 52 moved 6 squashed (but Chris Tindal had moved some.)

Boulderclough Dam, Sowerby.
12th March to 11th April Toads 734 moved 49 squashed
                                        Frogs 17
                                        Palmate Newts 13

Lumbutts near Todmorden.
355 Toads moved plus 20 casualties. (Big drop from 2014 when 654 moved and 63 killed.)
Gordon reports significant daytime movement, also a feature of Hebden Hey Dam.

Washer Lane, Sowerby Bridge.
This site is much depleted, possibly because of loss of most of their ponds, despite our protests.
7th and 9th April - Toads 13 moved 1 dead. (One moved was a full-sized huge female.)

Dobroyd Lane, Todmorden.
Portia and Brian counted 290 toads,  with  only 20 squashed.
                                         27 frogs
                                         148 newts !
                                         Best year ever for this site.

Portsmouth Dam, near Todmorden.
13th - 20th April. Toads 1265 moved 43 dead.
Sam also reported 100's killed on the nearby A646 on 10th April, so more volunteers needed there.

Upper Shaw Wood Rd. (Todmorden area)
25 toads. David intends to more fully monitor this site next year. Thanks for the emailed form David.

Wood House Lane, Todmorden
138 toads plus 29 killed, great work and great spreadsheet Cheryl and co.

Well done everybody, apologies if I've missed anyone out.


Please let me know of any omissions or inaccuracies. steve.blacksmith@gmail.com

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A new high level site for Toads has been seen at Upper Walshaw Dean Res. by Niall Roche, who reported Toads and Frogs squashed on 6th April. Probably too far out to monitor.









2 comments:

Nick Carter said...

That's a fantastic effort and result, well done to everyone concerned, makes our 377 look a bit poor :)

Steve Blacksmith said...

Not poor at all Nick. I guess they weren't all heading for your garden pond ?