It’s that time again! Today, 9th March, is the beginning of the toad mating season on Wilden Marsh. Last night was my first toad-watching evening of this year, and I didn’t see a single toad. Soon, though, maybe tonight, an advance party of toads will begin their slow march from hiding places in the Lagoon Field to congregate in puddles and small pools around North Pond. When the puddles and small pools become too busy, the toads will make their way to North Pond: their breeding pond. Fortunately, the toads don’t have to risk being squashed crossing the busy Wilden Lane.
Thousands of common toads will stay in North Pond until the end of the month, and most will then return to their Lagoon Field hiding places under a full moon on 31st March. They will leave the bottom of North Pond littered with headless toad corpses turned inside-out by herons.
For the last two weeks of March, Herons, otters and mink will gorge on toads at North Pond.
I guess many people in around Kidderminster and Stourport will be blissfully unaware of this natural and important annual toad spectacle playing out on Wilden Marsh whilst they sleep, work, rest and play – until now, that is, at least for those reading this.