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An Evening with Natterjack Toads

What a privilege attendees to this event had on 19th April!

Professionally led by Kim Norman (Excal Ltd), Land Management Advisor for ENI UK Ltd at Talacre, Flintshire, 14 delegates got to hear about the toads’ history at this site (the 1st strings were brought over from Ainsdale in 1995 then repeated each year until 1999), their ecology and the management regime used to ensure the toads’ survival.

Once dark (natterjack toads are nocturnal), we headed out to the dunes where several scrapes are home to a population of 200+ toads. As we walked closer to the scrapes we could hear the tropical-sounding croaks of the males as they try to attract females in from their daytime burrows in the surrounding dunes.

Almost immediately upon arrival Kim spotted our first male toad who was ‘singing’ from the edge of the first pool. She deftly measured and weighed him before releasing him back into the water. Once they had they their eye in, delegates were then finding males and females with several having a go at measuring and weighing whilst Kim took records down.

We were also able to identify the strings of eggs having been shown the difference between natterjack and common toad strings. These are marked with mini flags in the pond which are numbered and dated to enable Kim to plan for the date of emergence.

We would like to thank Kim for a superb evening and allowing us to act under her licence for this European Protected Species. It is a great project and wonderful to know that Wales does have a thriving population of these fascinating creatures.

Author: Becky Clews-Roberts, Welsh Section Committee Member

Processing a natterjack toad records

Processing a natterjack toad records

Christian measures  a natterjack toad

Christian measures  a natterjack toad

A natterjack toad sits patiently on the weighing scales

A natterjack toad sits patiently on the weighing scales

A flag highlights spawn string

A flag highlights spawn string

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