Every year, Denbighshire and Flintshire ecologists, wildlife rangers, ARC Trust and landowner reps get together to survey the natterjack toad population in the Prestatyn area, to see how they are doing. We usually aim to get a big posse together and count all the ponds on the same night, for the most reliable counts. The survey method’s pretty simple – get as many people as possible looking for natterjacks in the ponds and on land using big powerful torches, and count how many we find.
In 2016, the crowd of toad surveyors included NRW staff as well as the usual volunteers, as the survey included a new site at which we are hoping to reintroduce natterjacks. Across the water at Red Rocks in Cheshire, the Wildlife Trust were ready to count their toads as well.
But it was freezing cold, windy, and we even had hail ! After it started to thunder and we saw lightning, we called it a night, only to find that the total count was a measly one toad 😦
There seemed to be a decent number of spawn strings earlier in the spring so hopefully our toads are doing fine. We just need to be luckier with the weather for the next count!