The spring survey of adult and juvenile Fowler’s toads has been completed and we are beginning analysis of the data. Breeding activity by the toads, though, was slowed by cold weather throughout most May and early June. However, we have grown some tadpoles to the point where they are big enough to introduce them into the experimental ponds. We have set these tadpoles out into aquatic enclosures and will start monitoring their growth from now on. We are hopeful that the weather will improve so that the toads will start calling again.
In the meantime, the artificial ponds have been successful in attracting other species of frogs, including breeding American toads, so we are hopeful that the Fowler’s toads will soon find them. We have also found other rare species inhabiting the ponds, suggesting that they are providing useful habitat for a variety of wildlife. The Phragmite, common reed which is negatively affecting habitat for toads in some areas, has shown evidence of growing in around some of the sites, but only on the soil that was turned over, not around the ponds themselves as yet. My PhD student, Katharine Yagi, also done some outreach about the toads and the research project. She gave a tour to a graduate class from the University of Guelph and spoke about toads to the Long Point Ratepayers’ Association at their annual meeting.
~ Dr. David Green