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The Dampness At Night Has Started The Beeps

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Now that autumn is starting, although the days are still warm, even hot, the evenings are starting to cool down and dew is settling. This has started the almost electronic sounding beeps of the autumn mating calls of the Iberian Midwife Toads.

We have one in our vegetable patch tonight, clever toad as its very damp in there and plenty of bugs to eat. It was calling this evening so I found it and took this photo with my smartphone. These toads are small, this one smaller than 4cm in length.

I will try and get some video of it calling over the next few nights, but of course if I approach, it stops.


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European Common Toad Saved From The Strimmer

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Due to the crazy amount of rain we’ve had this spring, parts of the garden has turned into a jungle, therefore today, armed with a strimmer I began the clean up. I always check and walk through an area when strimming and usually leave an area where things can escape to.

Today we found what is probably an old friend we kept seeing last year, a European Common Toad (Bufo bufo). Down here in Southern Europe they can grow to huge sizes and as you can see on the 3rd photo, it’s bigger than my sunglasses!

European Common Toad (Bufo bufo)
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The Search For An Iberian Midwife Toad

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Back at the end of November, “Herper” Kevin Byrnes from the UK contacted me after seeing my image of an Iberian Midwife Toad I found whilst walking Wally. The term Herper comes from the word Herpetology, the study of Reptiles and Amphibians.

Kevin and his wife Suzanne are on a quest to find and photograph all species of European Reptiles and Amphibians and wanted some advice on locating an Iberian Midwife Toad, suggesting he was planning a trip to the Algarve at the end of January.

Back then I informed him that it was an easy task as throughout the winter the area around São Marcos da Serra is full of the echos of beeps, the calling noise of the Iberian Midwife Toad.

However, over the last few weeks the Toads have been unseasonally quiet due to the dry autumn and winter. A few days ago, Kevin contacted me to say they had arrived in the Algarve and would be planning to meet up at the weekend.

Yesterday was the day and I met up with Kevin and Suzanne just before the end of Civil Dusk at 6pm, still a little early for the Toads to start calling. The day had been very warm and dry with temperatures reaching 24deg C and I was concerned we would be out of luck.

However, as the photo shows, we struck luckly (story continues below the photo).

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(Young) Iberian Midwife Toad/Sapo Partero Ibérico (Alytes cisternasii)
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Spotted Another Iberian Midwife Toad

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Once again, whilst taking Wally (the Dog) for his pre-bed pee-walk I found an Iberian Midwife Toad and only had my phone (Samsung Galaxy S8+) with me. However, I have to admit, this is a pretty impressive night shot, albeit shot in “Pro” mode and the RAW file post-edited in Lightroom.

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Midwife Toad (Photographed using my Samsung Galaxy S8+ Phone)

For an idea on how small these Toads are, I took a shot with a €1 Coin for comparison. It’s amazing how loud the “Beep” noise they make can come from such a small creature. We can sometimes hear them from around half a kilometer (maybe more) away.

Midwife Toad and €1 Coin (Photographyed using my Samsung Galaxy S8+ Phone)

These small Toads emit a very electronic beeping sound and remarkable in that the female lays eggs and the male carries them around on his back until they are almost ready to hatch when he deposits them in a water source. This is where the name Midwife comes from.

I plan on getting some shots with the “real” camera soon and hopefully find some males carrying eggs. I will also get a recording of the calls, but this might not occur until the next rain which unfortunately is not forecast in the near future. We really need some rain now!

The Midwife Toads Have Started “Beeping”

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We moved to the Algarve at the end of last year’s summer and when the first rains came, the hills came alive with what I can only describe as electronic beeps. I had no idea where this noise was coming from.

We have many Sheep and Goat farmers in the area, the herds normally having bells to locate them. I originally thought this was a new electronic device as it was such a constant noise. Then one evening I took a walk down to the river and it was like I’d walked into a late 80’s nightclub playing Acid House, for those not familiar with this craze of music, it could have lots of high-pitched electronic “trippy” noises. I soon realised the lack of Sheep and Goats and wondered if in fact it was Frogs making this noise. I was almost right, it was Toads, Midwife Toads or Iberian Midwife Toads to be exact.

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Iberian Midwife Toad Captured on my Samsung Galaxy S8+

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Common Toad Waiting in Ambush

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Just had a great few minutes watching a Common Toad wedged between 2 rocks in the garden ambushing any Beetles in his range.

I grabbed the camera but as I was only working with light from my garden flood light it was difficult to get a pin sharp photo due to his throat movement and no chance of a tongue out ambush shot.

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Common Toad - D810, AF-S 300mm f/2.8 @ 300mm, f/8, ISO1000, 1sec - {Flickr Link}

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