As mentioned in previous years, the Ashwellthorpe colony of toads spends most of the year in Ashwellthorpe Wood but, in February/March each year, toads return to their breeding pond, which is on the other side of the main street through Ashwellthorpe. Concern grew at the number of toads which were being killed by traffic on the Street and volunteer patrollers have helped them across the road (by lifting them and placing in a bucket) each February and March since 2010.
This year’s first TOADWATCH patrols started on Tuesday 25 February and are continuing. There have been several evenings when the weather has been too cold for toads to move around – toads will move on damp evenings with the temperature above 7 C – but, overall, this breeding season has been much warmer and damper than the last two years, although it is getting rather dry now. The volunteers patrol between 18.00 and 20.15 at the start of the season; then, when daylight hours increase, from c. 18.45 to 20.45 until the end of the period.
It is worrying this year that the numbers of “rescued” toads are lower than in previous years (apart from 2010) although there may well be another two weeks of migration to occur. Up to and including Friday 14 March, the numbers are: 22 TOADS, 6 FROGS; with 7 amphibians killed on the road.