Toad season seemed to drop off sharply this year, and by mid-April Hebden Hey, like the other upper valley toad sites, was bereft of sightings. At Hebden Hey the patrol only operates on Fridays and over the weekend, to correspond with the times that the Scout Huts are booked and the road busy. Therefore the numbers below should only reflect a small proportion of the toads that use the site.

In 2012 numbers of toads helped were up, with volunteers helping 221 (174 in 2011) and 80 Palmate Newts (95 in 2011). There were still casualties however, 75 toads (67 in 2011) and 30 Palmates (11 in 2011) not making it to the other side of the road. The higher numbers of casualties this year may be as a result of some particularly busy evenings with lots of traffic.

On the 21st April a ‘Toad Talk’ was held for upper valley volunteers to discuss their experiences in 2012. In general it appeared that the Todmorden sites all saw the same drop in activity that was noted at Hebden Hey. The site in Portsmouth, previously not patrolled, saw over 600 toads helped, while Lumbutts (last year another site with over 600) only had about 350. It was the general consensus that nobody quite knew what to expect when the weather conditions changed dramatically (remember that snow?) before Easter.

If anyone is interested in getting involved with the patrol at Hebden Hey, or elsewhere in Calderdale, please contact Hugh Firman from Calderdale Council who can put you in touch with local patrollers.

Thanks to everyone who got involved this year, and as we pack away our toad buckets, here’s hoping for a good year in 2013!