Saturday, 14 March 2015

An Unlikely Love Story.....

I think I may this week have acquired the unusual distinction of being the only woman in the UK to have her thumb mistaken for a female toad. On the strength of this experience I can tell you that amorous male toads have a Very Strong Grip Indeed.

I tried to explain to my small warty paramour that my gloved thumb was not, as he believed, a lady toad, but was in fact part of my hand and a not insignificant part of the reason why he wasn't, at that precise moment, squashed flat on the lane by the car that had just roared past, lights blazing and not noticing either of us at all. His response, once I stopped talking, was to coo more loudly and hold on more tightly. Apparently, as soon as I scooped him up off the tarmac he decided he'd fallen in love and no amount of gentle reasoning would persuade him otherwise. 

I tried to prise him off by lifting him up. That didn't work. Then I tried to persuade him to walk off by nudging his bottom. That didn't work either. In the end, I placed my hand in the stream, hoping the coolness of the water might sufficiently dampen his ardour and show him his mistake, but of course that was nonsense because water is the medium of Toad Love And Marriage and all that I achieved was to get a wet glove and a cold hand and a still happier toad.


It was all rather sweet, and rather touching, and very funny. Picture the scene: there was me, in the pitch black with a semi-circle of light from my head torch haloing the ground immediately in front of me, half-way down a muddy bank in my wellies trying not to slip and overbalance into the stream in which twenty small toads sat watching me impassively, while a happy male toad clung onto my thumb and serenaded me with a whole string of musical Coos. 
This is precisely the sort of thing that is always happening to me. It rarely seems to happen to other people. I'm wondering how you spent your Thursday night? I'd lay money it wasn't as I spent mine, rescuing toads and being serenaded by them.

Needless to say, I got the giggles, which didn't help.

I've watched them mating all this week and it really is a grab hold, climb on and stay there or else process. The girls (who are quite a bit bigger than the boys) waddle off with their smaller paramours clinging onto their backs for dear life- any other male toads fancying their chances get short shrift in the form of a long toady leg thrust into their faces. Toad mating is a determined game. But then it has to be, because, from what I've seen this week, there are ten males for every female and the death rate on the lane is high.

Eventually, I managed to dislodge my little friend and he went off happily into the water. Apparently, he was not heart-broken at the loss of my thumb, because as soon as he found a real female toad he jumped on her. Toady affection is clearly an ephemeral thing.

I'll leave you with some pics of the Long Tailed Tits who have been back in the garden consuming vast quantities of fat balls this week. Everyone is starting to sing here now- the Blackbird has taken up station at the top of one of our trees where he sings away at dawn and dusk, the GSWs are drilling in the trees like mad and I keep hearing Greenfinches whirring away although I never seem to see them. It won't be long till nesting starts in earnest :o)


 
Hope all are well?

CT :o)




 

36 comments:

  1. Not so unlikely, he was showing special appreciation for your efforts! Or he thought CT stood for Consenting Toad, or Come-hither Toad, or similar. Lovely story and made me chuckle.

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  2. I was just thinking while outside in the garden this evening how much more birdsong I've been hearing this last week. Good to know that Spring has finally arrived!

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    1. Could do with it getting a tad warmer though- apparently, we are in for a cold snap this coming week.

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  3. Had a giggle at your amorous toad.. bless :o) Love the photos of the Long Tailed Tits, they are such pretty little birds. We seem to have lots of Chaffinches around at the moment.. such fun watching their aerobatics round the garden :o) x

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    1. I have fallen completely in love with the toads this week- such dear little souls. I wish they wouldn't sit still on the road for so long though, right in the paths of oncoming cars. Chaffinches singing like mad here xx

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  4. Your toad antics made me smile : ) Lovely photos of the Long Tailed Tits - I've not seen many this winter, either in the garden or along the lanes. We do seem to have cornered the market in House sparrows and Jackdaws however, both in huge numbers on the bird feeders (yup, I DID say Jackdaws on the feeders. Dang things!)

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    1. He was very determined not to let go!

      I counted 35 house sparrows in our hedge this week. Not bad, considering we started with 0 eight years ago :o) We have jackdaws nesting in the chimney pots again this year x

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  5. How sweet, I love the image of your little Toady singing to you! It really feels properly Spring-like here, at the moment at least! I love the transitional seasons.x

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    1. I do love them :o) Dear little souls they are. Am glad you've got some Springish weather too- we need a drop more sun and a degree or two warmer here xx

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  6. What a funny story! We have tons of frogs in our backyard that serenade us every night, but none of them have gotten intimate with my thumb (well...yet!)

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  7. Get yer coat, you've pulled. CJ xx

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    1. Needless to say, my husband is finding the whole thing hilarious, CJ.... xx

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  8. i've just discovered your blog and have very much enjoyed your toad posts! i had a very un-nerving near-miss when planting an elderberry last year and am afraid to dig anymore in case i dislodge [or worse] our resident garden toads!

    and while we're at least a month away from *real* spring weather here, the changes in bird activity are very noticeable. i saw my first robins of the season yesterday and it was ridiculously exciting! the true harbingers of spring around here are the red-winged blackbirds...once i hear them calling, i know spring has finally arrived. :)

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    1. Thanks Mel :o) Glad you enjoyed it. It is a worry when you find them in the garden and you want to do some digging. I'd love to see a red-winged blackbird.

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  9. I am terrified of frogs/toads, so you are very, very brave in my humble opinion!!

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    1. My mother and sister are scared of them too Gill, so you are not alone! :o)

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  10. I really enjoyed reading your 'love in' with the Toad. Hilarious. The shots of the LT Tits are beautiful.

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    1. It is an unlikely love story I think :o)

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  11. Lovely story about the toad - it did make me chuckle. Great photos of the LTT's - we have a pair visiting our garden would love to know where they nest.

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    1. The migration is starting to slow down now, so I'm hopeful most of them made it safely across the road. I shall miss them :o)

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  12. Smiling at your toady love story! And the LT Tits are gorgeous, well done for getting such great photos! xx

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    1. The feeder is right outside the kitchen window. Yesterday, I was sitting on the wall beside it when three of them came down to feed, chatting away to each other they didn't notice me- lovely! xx

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  13. I love your love story! So funny, I would have done the same thing if I had spotted him, I'm often seen picking up snails from paths and putting them somewhere safe.

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    1. I do same with snails too, well anything really that looks like it might get hurt where it is :o)

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  14. Wow ! What beautiful birds !
    Just wonderful shots !

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  15. How lovely, he was just saying thank you for all your hard work, not many people would stand in the dark moving toads ( well apart from all the people who visit your blog). Bird song and lighter mornings have been welcomed with open arms.
    Amanda xx

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    1. Thanks my dear :o) I am very fond of them- just wish they didn't have to cross the lane to reach the spawning grounds :o)

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  16. To use your phrase ..... I got the giggles to, Lovely post to read, thanks.

    Those long tailed tits look very comfortable.

    All the best Jan

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  17. Your loved up toad did make me giggle. Love the Log Tailed Tits too. :-)

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  18. Hey CT,
    This did make me chuckle. Olly and me went outside just before bed to listen to the toads cooing in our pond. It was great. None of them jumped me though. Clearly I don't have what it takes.
    Long tailed tits are one of my favourites. I have seen little groups of them here and there. I love their twittering.
    Leanne xx

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    1. It's probably because yours didn't need to be rescued from oncoming cars. That sort of business forms a strong bond between a girl and her toad :o)

      LTTs twitterings are gorgeous to listen to- it always makes me wonder what they are saying to one another (although perhaps best not to know!) xx

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Thank you for leaving a comment. I always enjoy reading them and will try my best to reply to every one. CT x