Natterjack toad monitoring, Flintshire (2014)

My third year of natterjack toad monitoring in Flintshire, would we once again scale the dizzy heights of the first year, when I was picking toads out of ponds by the handful ??

This year a co-ordinated count was organised so that all the ponds would be counted on the same night.  Including, as it turned out, the separate population at Red Rocks on the Wirral (via Cheshire Wildlife Trust).  A large crowd of naturalists, rangers, NRW staff and Reaseheath students gathered at the Smugglers Inn in Talacre to disinfect wellies, pick up torches and find out which ponds they had been allocated.I went with ranger Alistair and a group of naturalists to the sand storage area and Scrape 1 where we hoped to find plenty of natterjack toads, spawn and tadpoles.  We weren’t quite as successful here as we would have liked, with only one natterjack toad found in this area.  However, the best was saved for last with the new scrapes back towards the car park, where we heard natterjack toad males calling as we approached 🙂  Here there were about ten toads including some couples in amplexus, plus tadpoles and spawn strings.  Lovely.

There will be another co-ordinated count next year – if you want to join in, speak to Kim Norman at kim.norman@external.eni.com to get on her mailing list.  If you’re more local to the Red Rocks site, speak to Sue Tatman at Cheshire Wildlife Trust about joining the survey there.  The more the merrier !

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