Our native Natterjack neighbours were in full throat last Thursday evening and night, according to recent reports from Sefton Coast. But unlike the nuisance caused by human neighbours, we're being asked to tolerate them and even take steps to protect them.
I don't know about you I've always felt a degree of unease when thinking about picking up toads. Their size and cold clammy body and the heavily reptile appearance, are off-putting, to say the least.
Smaller than the Common Toad, Natterjacks are very rare. They breed in warm, shallow pools in sand dunes and on sandy heaths in just a handful of special places. They are mainly nocturnal. In the spring, the males all sing together at night to attract females.
Natterjack toads are claimed to be Europe's noisiest amphibian, with the male call audible over several kilometres.
Its ratcheting call has brought it two local nicknames: the Birkdale Nightingale and the Bootle organ.
Having spent the winter hibernating in its deep burrow, often with other natterjacks and even common toads for company, it reappears as the weather warms up in March and April.
Over the last four years, the water table along the Sefton Coast has been so low that vital breeding pools have failed to materialise. However, Natterjacks only need to successfully breed once every four or five years to sustain their population and with all the recent rain. it could be a bumper year.
The Natterjack Toad Choir was in full voice on the #Sefton dunes last night.— The Sefton Coast (@TheSeftonCoast) April 6, 2018
PLEASE keep dogs out of all pools and flooded areas at this crucial time for these very rare creatures.https://t.co/h5sQg9UDb7@NTFormby @NatureBftB @AinsdaleNNR @seftoncouncil pic.twitter.com/IjANnHS7zE