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Toads spawning by the sea.

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superdart View Drop Down
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    Posted: 12 Apr 2015 at 9:43pm
We were on a walk from Woolacombe to Lee along the cliff path and as we dropped down into a valley about 1 mile from Lee we had to cross over a small foot bridge that straddled a small stream.This stream fed into the sea via a few rock pools and there were strings of toad spawn and 2 breeders still in there no more than 10 yards from the sea.
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 13 Apr 2015 at 8:27am
interesting record - almost natterjack-like! would be very interesting to see what happens to the taddies.
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Liz Heard View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 01 May 2015 at 5:26pm
Hi Superdart and Will.

Funnily enough i saw similar in Pembrokeshire last week. 3 tiny and almost completely lifeless, rain-filled rock pools only 6 m or so from the deep blue and within a metre or teo of one another. Yet they were situated right next to a much larger pool with considerable algal bloom - ignored by the toads!

Each pool had larvae at a different stage of development. I took a tape measure from my pocket.
The largest was 70 cm x 25 at its widest point and 12 cm deep at its deepest. There were around 150 free swimming tads in it.
The second and smallest, was 60 x 15 at its widest. 12 cm at its deepest point but shallower for most of its length. It housed around 40 larvae just reaching free swimming stage.
The last had spawn with tadpoles still feeding on the jelly and was around 50 x 50, and only 5 cm deep.

A few pics of the rock pools and the larvae:

The view standing next to the pool nearest the sea:



At my feet, the pool nearest the sea (the largest 1):









The smallest pool:










And the 'pond' with the less developed larvae:





I've only ever seen Natterjack adults and that was in France. I've never seen the tadpoles. So i later wondered if these might be a reintro project, but i couldn't find anything about such a venture in this area.

However, i don't get to the seaside very often so for all i know this seemingly unusual (to me) sight might be a regular occurrence for Common Toad!



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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2015 at 9:12am
Hi Ben

that's a top observation.  Really makes me wonder if superdart and you have stumbled onto something more widespread than the literature would have us think.  I'm sure they're 'ordinary' toads rather than natterjack given the location, but their choice of their spawning site makes them extraordinary in my book.  Perhaps some kind of note and an appeal for more observations in the BHS Bulletin or on ARG-UK website would 'spawn' more records?  were there any more typical toad-breeding sites close to the rockpools, such as a pond or lake behind the beach?
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Liz Heard Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2015 at 10:06am
Hi Will,

Yes, driving down the lane i briefly glimpsed a fairly large pond nestled in the valley and adjacent to a patch of woodland and some buildings. It certainly looked good for toads from that point of view but it was on private land and much too far from the road to tell if it was a healthy pond or just a slurry lagoon.

It was about 1 km inland from the rock pools.     

Edited by Liz Heard - 02 May 2015 at 10:08am
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superdart View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote superdart Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2015 at 10:41am
Just to add that these toads have been spawning in the same pools for at least 12 years, as group of us, family and friends meet up and stay at The Royal Hotel every Easter WE and we do the same walk from Wooly to Lee every year and if Easter is late enough the toads or the taddys are there.There is also a small 1" - 3" deep x 2' wide stream at the back of the Royal car park that has taddys in it as well,also depending on the time of year.
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will View Drop Down
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2015 at 5:42pm
thanks for the extra info guys!  really interesting stuff, especially that there is a 12 year minimum history of this at one site at least.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote Suzy Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 02 May 2015 at 11:30pm
Do you think the pools would get a dose of seawater if the sea was rough? 
Suz
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote will Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2015 at 9:25am
exactly Suz - it seems such a high risk strategy.  Natterjacks use coastal sites that get a winter innundation of salt water, which kills many of their tadpole predators and makes it a better place to spawn come the spring.  I'm surprised that a species with high 'natal fidelity' ie spawning in the same water body for generations like the common toad would have elected to spawn in a 'marginal' (in two senses) site like a rock pool.  Bufo bufo spawn and tadpoles are not especially tolerant of saline water - nor are those of the natterjack, for that matter.
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Post Options Post Options   Thanks (0) Thanks(0)   Quote AGILIS Quote  Post ReplyReply Direct Link To This Post Posted: 03 May 2015 at 9:30am
I would have been inclined to remove some and put elswhere keith
   LOCAL ICYNICAL CELTIC ECO WARRIOR AND FAILED DRUID
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