Spring is in the air here in Northumberland.
In my garden it seems to be mating season for toads.
They could be frogs – I’m not an expert in telling the difference – but they seem to have warty skin and they crawl rather than hop so they’re probably toads.
This amorous couple is locked in a tender embrace.
Another pair doing their thing.
There seems to some kind of toad orgy happening here.
Not all the toads have been so lucky. In our pond I saw a number of mangled toad remains.
It appears that some predator has skilfully eaten the choice morsels and left behind the skin, attached to the head, turned inside out, perhaps to avoid the poisonous or distasteful glands found around a toad’s neck and skin.
Which creature could have carried out this clever butchery? The chief suspects are cormorants or herons, or an owl or even an otter, all of which are known to frequent our pond.
Nature can be harsh but there should be plenty of toads to go round. As common toads can lay up to 6,000 eggs in one go we should be overrun with toadlets in a couple of weeks time.