Home Conservation Amphibian Survey 2020

Amphibian Survey 2020


Frogs & Toads around the Sites

Scientifically there is no real distinction between frogs & toads. ‘Frog’ relates to the movement of hopping and this creature spends considerable time in the water while Toads walk or crawl and only enter it to breed.  Frogs behaviour patterns have been taken to indicate weather patterns, a bright healthy skin suggesting fine weather and dull sheen the opposite in the form of rain. If spawn was laid at the edge of ponds, it was considered an indication of storms while spawn found in the middle meant possible drought conditions. There are lots of folklore around these amphibians, mainly used as medicinal remedies, food, and other strange rituals too. To find a frog inside your house was seen as as as a bad omen and frog parts were sometimes used as a talisman.  However, let’s look at our living breathing pond and its watery residents.

Saintbridge Pond (and the nearby allotment) was most impressive for common frog (Rana temporaria)! Not only the best location I’ve visited in Gloucester, but the quantities of spawn were among the largest I’ve seen anywhere, ever. Around 200 clumps. Saintbridge has, around its fringes, excellent habitat for breeding frogs. They need long grass/rushes and other low-level vegetation plus logs and objects to hide in/under, plus clean, shallow, still and fish-free areas of water to breed in. It’s hard to think of an animal with a greater range/volume of enemies than the common frog – many invertebrates, birds, mammals, reptiles, and even other amphibians prey upon it from the moment the egg is laid and throughout every stage of the rest of its life. It has no skin toxins, sting, claws, beak, or other weaponry to fight back with and even lacks teeth. Instead, it deploys a passive resistance strategy – hopping away from a threat or hiding still and out of sight in vegetation, etc. The ‘Ghandi frog’

For your interest here are my 2020 sightings (so far). Numbers of spawn clumps (in brackets below) are, of course, experience-led estimates. Since it quickly swells with water losing definition and blending as one, the fresher the spawn, the more accurate the estimate.
I’ve only given grid references for your site – Saintbridge Pond, but happy to supply the ones for the nearby allotments if requested.

The following observations have been submitted to the Amphibian and Reptile Conservation Trust via their ‘Record Pool’ for verification. After which they’ll be passed to GCER (Glos Environmental Records Centre).

7/3/20 Frogspawn (20) Saintbridge Pond SO 84931670
7/3/20 Frogspawn (120) Saintbridge Pond SO 85041670
7/3/20 Frogspawn (60) Saintbridge Pond SO 85001163
7/3/20 Smooth newt adult female (1) Under a piece of wood, bank side, Saintbridge Pond SO 84951160

7/3/20 Frogspawn (4) Allotment pond
7/3/20 Frogspawn (20) Allotment pond
7/3/20 Frogspawn (3) Allotment pond
27/3/20 Slow worm adult female (1) Allotment
27/3/20 Slow worm adult female (1) Allotment

Many thanks go to Ben Rigsby –  Area Coordinator Stroud and Gloucester, Gloucestershire Amphibian and Reptile Group for compiling these results.

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Grass snakes pass through the site sometimes too. The bank at the back of the allotments looks a great ‘wildlife corridor’.

What Is the Purpose of Wildlife Corridors?