5 April 2011 – Ashwellthorpe’s Toad Watch activity finished on Sunday 3 April after over five weeks of patrols. The weather during March this year did not meet the required temperature of 5 to 9 degrees with dampness or rain from twilight onwards for the toads to start their migration from Ashwellthorpe Wood to their breeding pond on The Street, it being a dry month and much colder than wanted.

However, Patrols were mounted whenever John Heaser at the Norfolk Toad Watch Group indicated that the weather merited a “High” or “Medium” chance of migration, initially from 6.00 p.m. for a couple of hours and then from 8.00 p.m. for about an hour.

The number of toads ferried to safety across the road to the pond (and in a few cases at the end of the breeding season, back to the Wood side of the road!) in Ashwellthorpe Street between 23 February and 3 April 2011 amounted to 51; frogs numbered 12 and 1 common newt also. There were 7 toad and 3 frog fatalities from passing traffic.

51 toads represents nearly a five-fold increase over last year’s numbers – it is hoped that the Ashwellthorpe toad patrollers have helped the Ashwellthorpe colony of toads back towards the healthy numbers there used to be.

Many thanks to: Liz Ball and nieces, Annette Bunting, Laura Gibbons, Margaret Mercer, Brian Moss, Cathryn Pitt and her children, Jane Wareham and Sid Weiner who patrolled several times in all weathers; and to Rick and Nancy Adams, Julie Bruton-Seal, Dianne Hinchley and Lisa Vincent and her daughter who were waiting in the wings if needed.                                                                  Jennifer Robbie

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