Happy Toads………

It will soon be six years since I moved to Shropshire and five since the ‘Big Pond’ was created in the new part of the garden.  Back in Oxfordshire our wildlife pond was mostly home to a huge population of great crested newts – only very few frogs and no toads at all used the pond there for spawning.  There was no lack of toads around the garden but the presence of a large pond about 400 meters away that in March and April was a veritable orgy of spawning toads, meant that they were not interested in my little aquatic offering.  So the new pond here was created with toads in mind – deep water and plenty of vegetation to wrap their stringy black necklaces of spawn around.  And so I waited.  In the last five years the Big Pond has matured.  Toads are often found here under large stones and last year a pair was seen in ‘amplexus’ at the water’s edge, but no obvious spawn (or big fat tadpoles) seen.  This spring is different!  At last we have spawn in quantity and I look forward to the breeding population building up in our pond over time.

About wildlifegardening

Jenny Steel was a Plant Ecologist at Oxford University before becoming a writer. She has more than 20 years experience of writing about and teaching ecology, natural history and wildlife gardening. She is also a photographer, journalist and former plant nursery owner, and a lecturer and tutor in adult education. She has appeared on a variety of radio and television programmes including Gardener’s World with Alan Titchmarsh, and she presented a series of items on the BBC 2 gardening show, How Does Your Garden Grow. She has worked with and written for a variety of organisations including the Royal Horticultural Society, Natural England, Atropos, Ernest Charles, the Adult Residential Colleges Association (ARCA), Haiths, Usborne Books, Complete Gardens, Oxfordshire County Council, the charity Growing Native and several of the Wildlife Trusts. She is also the Garden Bird Guru for the wild bird food company JustAddBirds of which she was a co-founder. The Emmy Award winning film company Panache Productions are currently making a film about her wildlife garden in South Shropshire. She has written 10 books on wildlife gardening. Her website can be found at www.wildlife-gardening.co.uk and her bird food company at www.JustAddBirds.co.uk
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5 Responses to Happy Toads………

  1. Sharon says:

    Love this photo!

  2. Newts and frogs breed in our wildlife pond but the toads insist on using the rill.

  3. Rob says:

    Your photo took me right back to my childhood, when we collected toad spawn from the local pond. Well done for creating a pond for toads to spawn in.

  4. I once took a photo of two Natterjack toads doing what they do in Spring, the female had a distinctly uninterested look on her face. Well uninterested for a toad and the male had a more determined look. I added a ballon coming from the males mouth with a sentence in it that said ‘at least you could pretend to be interested, I’ve been waiting all year for this’ Unfortunately the photo was taken on film and is now long gone. or i would send you a copy.

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