Introduction

Wild Time

Spring

Feel the beat of spring

Be dazzled by bluebells

Harken to a bittern's boom

Seek a swooping sand martin

Pen poetry among daffodils

Sway with dancing grebes

Get sent packing by a grouse

Take a ringside seat

Track down a tiger

Watch a rare sky dance

Chatter with a natterjack

Enjoy the great rush north

Look up in awe

Shine a light on newts

Eavesdrop on a nightingale

Go spotting early orchids

Follow a sat-tagged osprey

Gape at hunting hobbies

Nurse a passion for purple

Scour riverbanks for Ratty

Tip-toe among fritillaries

Summer

Hail the success of avocets

Go batty as night falls

Bewitched by a buttercup

Play the summertime blues

Thrill to damsels and dragonflies

Go after Dartford warbler

Make a splash with gannets

Stake out a badger sett

Hurrah for the king

Rejoice in Manxie's chorus

Delight in a glow worm

Fall for THE fastest bird

Be spellbound by orchids

Journey to a seabird city

Exalt at a skylark's song

Party with the puffins

Lounge with a lizard

Haunt a churring nightjar

Head seawards on safari

Discover the rare spoonbill

Join the toadlet exodus

Spot our largest butterfly

Wear a hat for terns

Hunt woodland beauties

Autumn

Admire our eager beavers

Marvel at migration

Forage for Autumn's bounty

Go nuts over squirrel nutkin

Ramble through purple

Gaze in awe at reds' rut

Wander in the wild wood

Cheer on the salmon run

Try a wild goose chase

Foray for fungi

Winter

Pay homage to the Russians

Go on a winter ghost hunt

Wonder at wintering waders

Fall in love with a seal pup

Hear Britain's tallest bird

Revel in roosting wagtails

Kiss beneath mistletoe

'Ooh' & 'aah' at murmurations

Lie in wait for an otter

Rock 'n' roll with geology

Wrap up for a raptor roost

Chatter with a natterjack

Natterjack toad © Thomas Brown

The UK’s loudest amphibian is also one of our rarest.

Arrive before darkness falls and find yourself a comfortable spot to take in the show

The aptly named natterjack toad is a very rare animal in Britain, now mainly found in sand dunes and saltmarshes around the coasts of north-west England and the Solway Firth in Scotland, where they breed in shallow, usually temporary pools of water.  Elsewhere, they cling on at just a handful of sand dunes in East Anglia and on heathlands in Surrey and Hampshire.  They are smaller than the common toad, and can be told by a yellow strip that runs down the centre of their back.  But what really makes them stand out is their voice.

The call of the male natterjack is reputed to be the loudest of any amphibian in the country - some describe it as 'phenomenal', others as 'tropical'.  And on a warm spring night, as the males inflate their vocal pouches and the chorus strikes up from the pools amongst the dunes on the Wirral coast, you can certainly hear why!

How to do it

Natterjack toads are a protected species, and it is against the law to disturb them or their habitat.  So stick to the footpath, stay behind the fences and watch where you tread.  Rather than risk harming one, keep your distance and stay downwind half a mile or so - there's no need to worry about not hearing them because you will! Choose a warm, cloudy and damp day and arrive before darkness falls and find yourself a comfortable spot to take in the show.

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…There is some wonderful footage of a singing natterjack toad from Latvia here .

Special spots

Pop in for a natter on the Wirral. One of the few remaining refuges for the natterjack toad is Red Rocks Marsh , Cheshire between West Kirby and Hoylake. Brand new breeding pools have been created on the seaward side of Royal Liverpool Golf Club and these shoreline des res are already attracting a spring symphony of male natterjacks. You don't need to go up close - enjoy the concert from the beach!  Cheshire Wildlife Trust runs guided walks and surveys.

Cumbria,  Eskmeals Dunes

Lincolnshire,  Saltfleetby – Theddlethorpe Dunes NNR

Norfolk,  Holme Dunes (Rather than risk harming the toads by venturing up the access track, stand on the sea wall by Thornham harbour or better still, enjoy a pint and the toads' song outside the Lifeboat Inn.)

Natterjack toad © Philip Precey

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