Two weeks ago we mentioned our excitement in the spring while waiting for toads to return to our pond and make merry, where they leave their ribbons of spawn like urgent messages tapped out in morse code. They finally appeared about ten days ago and now with the party over just one or two latecomers are quartering the pond in the hope of coming across a receptive mate.
Every year they lay their spawn at the western end of the pond due, we suspect to the fact that it’s the first part of the pond to receive sunshine and warmth in the mornings. Draping their gelatinous eggs over fresh emerging weed growth there are a few frenzied nights before all goes silent and they return back to the garden where they live in the cool of the damp stone walls or in the shade of the larger shrubs and trees digging themselves backwards into the soil.
It’s plainly evident at spawning time that we must have nearly two dozen toads in the garden but it's rare that we come across them in our day to day activities. Every now and then we’ll lift up a terracotta pot and find one blinking at us in the bright light of day before having its home replaced and continuing with its slug eating duties.