Grumpy Toad In The Hole

We have a small Spiny Toad living in a small hole in one of our dry stone walls in the garden, it was waiting for a snack to walk past.

The Spiny Toad is a subspecies of Common Toad and can grow to a huge size, this one was very small, so he’ll probably out grow his current house. It was also a lot greener that the much browner ones we normally see locally.

Just for the record, I did not use a flash for this photo, I used a low power LED and high ISO. It was also great to get the 70-200mm f/2.8 out to play too!

📷 Nikon D850 & Nikon AF-S 70-200mm f/2.8 @ 200mm, f/4.5, 1/250sec, ISO4000

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A Rare View Of An Iberian Midwife Toad In Daylight

I was inside the house putting my mobile studio back into storage after a storm postponed a commercial shoot today and Emma was shouting from outside the front door; “Craig, quick grab your camera!”. She had uncovered an Iberian Midwife Toad that had decided to shelter near the front door, probably from the heavy rainstorm overnight.

It’s rare to see these tiny toads in the daylight, so I carefully placed it on a nearby rock and shot these photos before placing it in undergrowth for it to hide until darkness.

The tiny toads are amazing and at night have a high-pitched beeping noise. Rather than me type all the information again, take a look at my Algarve Resident article I wrote in November 2019.

In case you are wondering this was about just 40mm in length, the size of an adult.

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A Quick Thunderstorm Brought Out A Fire Salamander

Although very common, particularly in the Algarve Hills, the Fire Salamander remains very hidden for most of its life but does venture into the open at night. After rainfall they can come out into the open even in the daytime, but I’ve never seen one in daylight.

I spotted this one heading under one of our terraces and into a Cat Bed, this is why it has cat hair stuck to it. I took a photo and then placed it in a much better location than the Cat bed!

This one was only around 10cm long, they can grow up to 25cm, I suspect it’s quite young.

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Young Fire Salamander
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Mediterranean Tree Frogs Right On Our Doorstep

Most nights at this time of year, just after sunset, we can hear a loud croaking coming from a location nearby. So I decided to investigate what Frogs/Toads make these loud noises. After following the noise I stumbled across an old disused Cisterna (Water Storage Tank). The noise is amplified by the concrete circular wall which is why it can be heard from a distance. I could see the Frogs but not close enough to identify. I decided that I’d return the following night with the camera, but needed a light as I’m not a fan of using flash on wildlife in the dark.

Mediterranean Tree Frog Calling (Male)

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The Search For An Iberian Midwife Toad

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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