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

Join the toadlet exodus

Toadlets (c) Ian Watson

Watch thousands of tiny toads head out into the big wide world.

Common toads famously return to the ponds in which they were born in which to spawn.

Early in the spring, they gather en masse to go about their noisy and sometimes boisterous courtship over a couple of weeks. Once the spawn is laid, the adults hop off again, leaving their tadpoles to their own luck.

Over the spring and summer those tadpoles have been eating and growing, going from vegetarians to hungry meat eaters, and finally exchanging their tail for legs. By July, they are ready to leave the water and go make their way in the world of dry land. All together. If you’ve never experienced the sheer weight of numbers these tiny amphibian youngsters produce as they leave their birth ponds for the first time, you’re in for quite a surprise!

How to do it

If you can’t get to the special places listed below…The common toad is commonly found throughout Britain, so you shouldn’t be too far from a place where toads breed. In the spring listen out for their courting croaks, and look for the spawn laid in strings, rather than the big globular masses of frogs. If you find a place where toads breed, revisit later in the summer and you may be lucky enough to witness the exodus.

Special spots

See tens of thousands of tiny toadlets setting out from the margins of Llanbwchllyn Lake , near Builth Wells in Powys. This usually happens in early July and takes place over a day or two when the roadway is covered in a seething mass of dark mini-amphibians – so it's best to park your car some distance from this lovely lake! 

Derbyshire,  Oakerthorpe  (or should that be Croakerthorpe?)

Common toad © Richard Bowler

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