Two Toads In a Hole

Common Toad Bufo bufo

For the last three nights and days I have heard something akin to a very old rusty wheelbarrow being pushed along coming from beneath a bush on the edge of my garden pond. It sounds like the male mating call of a frog or a toad, which one I don’t know for I haven’t seen it yet, despite my efforts getting on hands and knees peering under the bush. About four days ago I discovered a toad under a step, which can be seen in the images below, and I thought he might be the one making all the noise, if it was in fact a he. Yet when I lifted the loose slab to the step this morning I found not one toad, but two hiding under there. I thought aha! here we have them, a courting couple, yet as I observed them the rusty wheelbarrow noise started up again by the pond! So I guess I am still none the wiser at present as to what is making all the noise.

Common Toad Bufo bufo

Common Toad Bufo bufo

Common Toad Bufo bufo

Toad In A Dustpan

Common Toad (Bufo bufo) toadlet

This toadlet had been hiding in a corner of the front garden under a drift of leaves after the rains and winds we have had lately. Unfortunately he was rudely disturbed for he was so small and well camouflaged he was not spotted until he was hopping in the dustpan.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo) toadlet

Although he appeared a little put out by the incident, fortunately he seemed unaffected by the mishap and was released on rocks on the edge of my garden pond. He duly found himself in the water and swam for cover beneath some overhanging vegetation.

Common Toad (Bufo bufo) toadlet

Photograph of Common Toad (Bufo bufo) toadlet, taken August 2016, rear garden, Staffordshire. © Pete Hillman 2016. Camera used Nikon D7200, with Nikon 18-55mm lens.

As of The Earth

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

It was almost like the earth had began to move and come alive as I walked along my local riverbank this morning. I immediately stopped in mid-stride as my eye saw movement below.

It was a little toadlet which I had disturbed amongst the leaf fall and other plant detritus, trying its best to flee before the giant which cast its shadow upon it. And there was another, and nature had provided them with the perfect camouflage to keep them safe from predation. But if they hadn’t moved they might not have been safe from my foot! But thankfully they were.

 

In The Night Pool #2

I have been in the garden on and off during the week in the dark hours to see what comes out under the cloak of night, and here they are again, two Common Toads (Bufo bufo).

One was on a garden step, and the other was swimming in the pool.

Visit Common Toad (Bufo bufo) to learn more about these wonderful amphibians.

In The Night Pool

Common Toad (Bufo bufo)

Finally, I have vertebrate activity in my garden pond. And more than I could have wished for!

I went out after dark tonight to see if I could spot anything going on in or near the pond, and then I saw a toad swimming in the pond towards me. And then, lo and behold, I saw another which appeared to be feeding at the base of my Water Mint.

So from May when I first built the pond, and when it started with a bloom of green algae, then teemed with gnat larvae, and after more invertebrate activity, the ecosystem has evolved and attracted its first vertebrates as I know of.

I am so delighted to have been witness to nature colonising  new territory in the form of this small garden pond, and I hope that if these toads are a pair, that maybe there will be baby toads on the way.

Visit Common Toad (Bufo bufo) to learn more about these wonderful amphibians.

Toadlet By The River

Whilst taking a stroll along my local river I came across this small toadlet whilst investigating some toadstools. It is the young of the Common Toad (Bufo bufo), and toads and toadstools so do compliment each other! Toadlets emerge from the water after heavy rain late in the summer.

Photographs taken September 2011, local river, Staffordshire.

Common Toad

Bufo bufo

Common Toads have very warty skin, are brown or grey, or olive-green in colouration, with a rounded snout and copper-coloured eyes. They also have a large parotoid gland behind each eye. The males call by day or night with a  croaky squeak which does not carry far. The females do not make any sound. Length 60-90mm. Weight 40-80g.

They hibernate underground quite a considerable distance from water, often in old rodent burrows from October through to February. In the spring they migrate back to the ponds where they were born to spawn and secure the next generation. Newly emerged toadlets are seen in June or July, usually after rain. Common Toads puff up their bodies when threatened themselves to make themselves appear bigger than they actually are. They also secrete a nasty tasting substance through their skins to deter being eaten, and are highly poisonous, even to humans. Nocturnal hunters, they hunt invertebrates with their sticky tongues, eating worms, spiders, and insect larvae. Larger toads will also prey on small rodents, and also grass snakes and slow worms. They can live up to 40 years.

They are found in a wide range of habitats, from ponds, woodland, hedgerows, grasslands, and parks and gardens. They are common and  widely distributed throughout mainland Britain and the Channel Islands, but more localised in Scotland. In steady decline in the wild.

Photographs taken June 2013, discovered under log, local wood, Staffordshire.

Toad Pays A Visit

This was the first time I had ever seen a toad in my garden. We normally get frogs, but never toads, until now, which was a wonderful surprise! This is the Common Toad (Bufo bufo),  which I discovered on my patio, and the good thing is that these amphibians tend to keep quite still whilst you photograph them. I later discovered it had made a home for itself in a space beneath my rear patio step.

Because I was taking the step out and building some decking, I thought it best I moved it to the garden water feature I had at the time. It appeared happy with its new home for it remained there for awhile afterwards.There seems to be a few things going on here besides the toad in the water. There are gnat larvae swimming around, and what is that wormy thingy coming out of the toad’s head? Maybe it is some kind of parasite?