|Spadefoot toad amplexus (the mating position of frogs and toads, in which the male clasps the female about the back)|
After spending a few hours the night of April 22 looking for spadefoot toads without any luck I returned along with a biologist friend John Berkholtz to survey the island a few days later on April 25. The difference this time was steady rain throughout the day/night along with 50 degree temperatures through the night.
After driving for a few minutes down the one and only road around 8:45pm we found a spadefoot toad on the road within a few minutes!
|waterproof field notebook with ruler.|
We then continued on down the road and found more toads scattered throughout the road so we had to drive very carefully as to not run any over.
Next we went to another site and heard an individual spadefoot calling from a vernal pool. We searched and eventually saw the toad in the water.
Next we continued on to listen for activity from other pools scattered along the 7 mile stretch of road. Along the way we saw more American toads as well as a Fowler's toad (Anaxyrus fowleri).
Next we went to a site along one of the boardwalks to a pool where we heard chorusing spadefoots last year and decided to investigate closer this year. We walked to the end of the boardwalk and heard spadefoot toads chorusing in the distance. From the google maps aerial photo we assumed they were calling from a large open canopy pool near the trail in the direction of the chorusing but when we arrived the chorusing sound was beyond that pool in a shallower closed canopy forested pool in great abundance chorusing like crazy! At this site there were dozens of individuals calling and in about 30 minutes of watching and listening we saw about 5 pair of toads in amplexus getting ready to create the next generation of toads!
It was a bit chaotic but I managed to get a bit of audio/video of toads chorusing as you can see here:
We hit the jackpot visiting this site at this exact time. Next we continued to the end of the island all the was to Sandy Point State Reservation and didn't hear chorusing from any other site. At this point it was almost 11PM with an hour drive home so we called it a night and headed home.
We finished the night with some new data points on spadefoot toad breeding sites as well as a new Fowler's toad record.