This is the fourth spring for Toad Pool 1. Vegetation was quick to fill in here, but amphibians were slow to arrive.
This is the second spring that water has been present in Toad Pool 2. Last year the pool was still under construction and only had a depth of a few inches. This year’s pool has a center portion with a depth of about one foot, and the soil was compacted during construction to minimize leakage.
The pools were constructed with the primary goal of creating Toad breeding habitat. This is the first year that toads have actually visited the pools. During warmer nights, males move into the pools to call for mates. I counted nine males ringing the shoreline of Toad Pool 2 on March 25.
It took a few nights before a female made it to the pool. This couple, with female in front, is ready to begin the process of depositing and fertilizing eggs.
On the morning of March 29, I finally found strings of toad eggs in the pool. The depressions in the bottom of the pool were made by deer hooves. Whitetail Deer treat these pools as their private playgrounds. I’m hoping that doesn’t cause a problem for developing tadpoles.
Eggs began to hatch on April 2. By the next day, hatching was proceeding at a rapid pace.
This collection of egg strands is in deeper water and wasn’t noticeable until hatching began. Everything seems to be going well. Hopefully, the end result will be a mass of small toads leaving the pool.
There was one thing different about the toad pools this spring that may have contributed to the toad visitations. Both pools were surrounded by a mass of Spring Peepers creating a loud chorus. I’m wondering if the Peeper song alerted the toads to the fact that a suitable breeding pool was available. The newly hatched Peeper tadpoles shown above are just two of dozens hanging in the algae around the edge of the pools. This toad pool venture may just turn out to be a success.