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.
These small Toads are quite strange in that the Female lays eggs on land and the Male gathers them and carries them on his back until ready for hatching where he then deposits them in a water source.
Today was the first rain for almost 6 months in the hills of the Algarve which means tonight the Toads are in full voice. Usually quite shy, I did manage to stumble across one on the drive whilst taking Wally (the Dog) for a walk. With only an LED torch and my Samsung Galaxy S8+ I captured this photo. The red dots on the eyes give it away as a Midwife. I’m not sure if this is a male or female, but think it’s quite young. Fully grown they are only around 40mm (males slightly smaller), this one was only around 25mm long, yes thats gravel around it.
They are classified as “Near Threatened” so it’s great to hear them singing away again. I will try to get some more photos of these tiny Toads.
Interestingly enough, the Scops Owl (which is also found in the Algarve) makes almost the same beeping noise.