otherwise known as.....the Common Toad
These great photos of toads in Hawkins Pond were taken by Karl, three weeks ago in early March. Toads (and frogs) use Hawkins as a breeding site, returning every year to spawn. Apparently toads moved elsewhere will find their chosen pond even if they are more than two miles away. The mass migration to Hawkins has been watched by the fishermen, who have seen hundreds of toads assemble for the annual mating. Males arrive first and remain in the pond for several weeks, while females only stay long enough to mate and spawn. The female lays a long double string of small black eggs, which the male fertilises. The toadpoles hatch out after two or three weeks. There are thousands of them, but many will become food for the grass snakes who have now come out of hibernation and will hunt them in the water. By twelve weeks the young toads will be ready to leave the pond. They spend the rest of the year living in damp lairs, concealed under rocks or log piles, coming out at night to hunt.
We've got plenty of log piles and are be careful not to disturb the inhabitants underneath with too enthusiastic tidying!