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Saturday, 12 April 2014

Toad Patrol Results from Lower Calder Valley

It was a good season weather wise after the temperature got up to about 10C.

Common Toad - safely in my bucket (SB)

The first warmth was on 13th March when it was 11.5c at 8.15pm when
we saw 1 toad at Washer Lane, Sowerby Bridge   SE 075239
            1   "         Thornhills Beck Lane, Brighouse SE 147236
            6  "          Styes Lane, Boulderclough         SE 038241
(These are the three sites I have been watching with help of other kind people.) (Copley has very few toads at the moment - we saw 2 squashed.)

Then it went cold again until Sunday 30th March when we saw the first big movement :
                                                                    12 moved 14 squashed Washer Lane
                                                                    71 moved 27     "            Boulderclough
 31stMarch                                                   24 moved   0 squashed Washer Lane
                                                                   164 moved 24 dead       Boulderclough

 1st april                                                        263 moved 11 dead      Boulderclough
                                                                       22   moved 15 dead      Thornhills
                                                                       17  moved   2 dead       Washer Lane

 2nd April                                                       49 moved    5 dead       Boulderclough
                                                                        7  moved     3 dead       Thornhills

 3rd April (Cooler to about 8c)                         65 moved     3 dead       Boulderclough
 4th April (warmer again)                                   99 moved    11 dead      Boulderclough

 10th April  (still warm)                                       3 moved        0 dead       Boulderclough

I saw somethings I had never seen before: some females moving overland with multiple males in amplexus on them ( up to 4 !). Also a nuptial chase when a single female tried to avoid a male attempting to jump on her - she went round in circles to try and avoid him!

Other wildlife included a roe deer at close quarters and tawny owls, sadly very few (2). A bat, probably a Daubentons, flew over the surface of the dam almost touching my white bucket as I emptied it into the water at one site. We counted 8 newts migrating to the dam at Boulderclough; all thought to be Palmate Newt, by far our commonest species.

Sadly also the Washer Lane main dam is now empty. It is no longer a toad breeding dam. The owners are bulding a house there, but have promised to create 2 amphibian ponds. Some large fish (carp?) were wallowing in half their depth of water. A member of Boulderclough Angling Club said he would try and tranfer them to his club dam and they disappeared but I'm not sure he moved them.

One volunteer, Steve Cummings the film maker, took a pair of toads home for the night to try and film spawning and they spawned in the aquarium, but not while he was watching!

Well done to all the Upper Valley Volunteers for moving all those many 100s of toads Portia emailed about.


  1. Very well done to all involved! We have done something similar on a smaller scale over here on the east coast, moved over 75, not quite up to you guys efforts but we try!

  2. Well done to all of you ,,great job.....