Wednesday, 13 February 2013

Toads need your help!!

Firstly and most importantly, can I say a big thank you to you all for reading my blog. For the first time 
ever, I reached over 140 views in one day. I'mgobsmacked. I'm glad you're liking what I'm writing about and I hope youcontinue to do so. I would also like to say hello and welcome to my newfollowers, Hi.

Now, the time is approaching, green shoots ofsnowbells and daffodils are beginning to raise their heads from the muddy soil,birds in foreign lands are gearing up for the long journey to the UK and toadsare beginning to wake from there winter slumber ready to migrate to theirmating ponds. Spring is beginning to spring, and it's the last bit about toadsthat I'm going to concentrate on. Now I know they're not the prettiest ofcreatures, they're not full of grace in their movement either, especially whenthey try to hop. But they are very important to our local environment. They aresomething to welcome into your garden especially if you're a keen gardener.They love to eat all the little pests and grubs that love to eat all yourlovely little plants. They don't cause any damage to anything and they are oneof nature little creatures that you can interact with.
Why are they important to our environment? The answeris simple, balance. Nature needs to keep things in balance, if things get outof hand, nature usually sorts it and restores the balance. Imagine if therewere no toads, frogs, newts or lizards running around snapping up all thelittle bugs that like to munch on our food plants, flowers, crops, trees evenour wooden buildings. These bugs would be so numerous the damage done would beimmeasurable. If bats and dragonflies were absent, mosquitos would be morenumerous than they are now and we'd be eaten alive. I know, a bit dramatic, butyou get my gist.
Now the main problem is the balance thing, for ushumans have a real uncanny knack for messing this balance up and thencomplaining when it all goes wrong. In some cases we try to address the balanceby adding something else, i.e. another non-native species, which just messesthe balance up even further. But hey, slowly and surely, we're learning and ourbiodiversity is improving through our understanding of how it all works. This understandingcan be passed on to our kids and here's an interactive opportunity for you todo this and you don't even have to have kids to help.
Like I said, toads are on the move and every year theyreturn to the same mating ponds that their ancestors mated in and so forth andso on. However, roads get built across these migratory routes and toads andcars don't mix, especially for the toad. Every year, your local Amphibian and Reptile Group (ARG) set up 'Toad Patrols'. These patrols usuallyinvolve a group of people who go out on nights, when the conditions arefavourable for toads, and help them cross the road by walking along the vergesand placing them in buckets so they can be safely ferried to the other side ofthe road and can continue there journey. This is also an ideal opportunity toconduct surveys into the population increase and decreases to see how theirfaring.
It's a great thing to get the kids involved in andyou're doing lots to help your environment. If you want to get involved, pleaseclick on the link above to find your local group, or if you live in the Ipswicharea Duncan Sweeting of Suffolk ARG has asked me to post the following:

Toad Patrol introduction training , in Ipswich on the 18th Feb 7.30pm ,please e mail if you would like to come. We will coveridentification of toads, sexing and recording the information , Suffolks toadcrossings and answer questions

So please feel free to come along, they're a friendlybunch who, like toads, don't bite.
Remember, acting locally helps globally.


  1. I agree that the butterfly bush has its advantages in our landscape, especially because it is so fragmented. These bushes provide rich pollen sources on otherwise pollen poor land-they act as networks, enabling butterflies to move across the landscape. In the UK conservation is geared towards encouraging species diversity (which the butterfly bush restrains) . But if we do not have the available habitat for these different species then how will they survive? I guess we should ask ourselves whether we can afford the luxury of maintaining high species diversity or whether letting the widespread but equally useful species flourish. These are the species that are more likely to survive alongside us.

    Just a thought that came through my mind whilst reading your blog post .... I'm not saying our current practices are wrong but I guess like what your saying in your post, we should think about things from all points of view.

    Out of interest, what species of butterfly fed on the butterfly bush?

  2. Hi Robin,
    Could you please repost this on the Buddleia post. Thanks