Tuesday, 17 May 2022

Migration of toads to slow after busy week

MORE than 1,800 toads have been helped by the Henley Toad Patrol in the past week.

Volunteers carry them across Marlow Road in buckets to their spawning pond on the Culden Faw Estate to avoid them being run over.

This was the busiest week so far this year with 1,899 toads, 286 frogs and 83 common newts being helped to safety.

This brings the total number of toads encountered so far to 5,170 plus 1,036 frogs and 145 newts.

Professor John Sumpter, a volunteer who collects the data, said: “The mild and often wet weather of the last week was ideal for amphibian migration.

“In most years, the peak of migration occurs in mid-March so the high number on the move is not unusual.

“It is difficult, if not impossible, to judge how many more amphibians have still to reach the barrier.

“However, two things suggest that the spawning migration has passed its peak for this year.

“One is that few single males, which are the first to arrive at the barrier, are now being collected.

“The other is that some very plump, single females are being collected.

“Some of the toads have spawned already. Those that have are now leaving the pond and heading back to Oaken Grove Wood, where they will spend the next 10 or so months.

“About half of those adult toads are expected to survive another year. Those that do will be appearing at the temporary barrier next spring hoping for help to cross the road again.”

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