Nicky chalks a toad warning at Hebden Hey

Hello all,

Just a quick update on how the Toad Patrols have been getting on across Calderdale over the last couple of weeks. All in all it seems to have been a ‘funny season’, what with days and days of dry weather and cold nights meaning uncertain toad movements. As ever, nature is doing its best to be unpredictable and volunteers are continuing to check their sites should there be more waves of migration.

– Lumbutts has seen the greatest numbers, with over 600 toads helped by Gordon and Margaret and occasional visitors! This is over 100 more than last year’s total, with the most helped in a single night being 117, patrols will continue for a couple of weeks yet. Another observation from Lumbutts is that the frog count is down from last year – have other volunteers noticed this at their sites?

– Todmorden sites have had some excellent helpers this year, with approximately 100 being helped at Woodhouse Road by a dedicated toad team. With up to 37 cars passing in a hour at this site, and up to 3/4 of toads becoming casualties in previous years, this is a promising sign for helping this remnant colony to recover.

– A new site at Todmorden Tennis Pond where toads have not been patrolled before, saw one memorable night where over 160 were helped! Special thanks to Ben Crowther and family for their brilliant toad saving endeavours here.

– Hebble End/Horsehold Road is another colony that has been depleted over years of road casualties. This year volunteers have helped at least 40 toads, and fingers crossed for more in the future.

– Hebden Hey has seen approximately 170 toads helped around weekends when the the road is busy with visitors to the Scout huts. Toads at this site frequently move in the daytime, so with the help of some excellent volunteers, we’ve managed two visits a day at the busiest times. As an added bonus, we’ve seen large numbers of Palmate newts crossing the road, and helped 84 of them avoid traffic!

Night-time newt at Hebden Hey

– The population at Washer Lane has seen large declines in recent years, but over 40 toads have been helped by volunteers this year. A new site at Milner Royd had nearly 30 toads and 5 Palmate newts seen over one evening.

Thanks again to everyone who has got involved this year, it’s been great to see so many volunteers out and about. Keep fingers crossed for some damp warm nights and it may not be over yet! Good luck on the roads everyone.